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Date: 21 November 2017

  African - Soccer

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News Headlines

Ghana struggle past Bots, Mali pip Guinea

[Posted 25 Jan 2012]
[By Brighton Mupangavanhu]
Ghana struggle past Bots, Mali pip Guinea

Ghana had hero John Mensah to thank for grabbing a narrow win against a Botswana fight back in the second half to end the day 1-0 victors in their first Group D match.

Skipper Mensah was the unlikely scorer of the goal-shy Ghanaians in the 24th minute, when he somehow benefited from poor marking following a corner kick with the Botswana keeper Modiri Marumo and his defence failing to do the basic thing in defending, cutting out the cross.

Many pundits have commented about how Ghana dominated the match in the first half, and Samuel Kuffour commenting for pay channel Supersport on Cyannel 4, even suggested that he was pleased with the manner his homeland played through the match.

Thats very surprising from a man who has seen it all in professional and international football. If the truth be told, Ghana were very lucky to escape with maximum points on Tuesday.

The Black Stars have captain Mensah to thank for their victory yesterday. While it is easier for the less perceptive mind to label Mensah a man who moved from hero to zero, a closer analysis will reveal that without the heroics of Mensah in scoring the only goal of the match and that of stopping Jerome Ramathlakwana from scoring, the match could have ended in a 1-1 draw.

Everybody knows that Ghana always dominate possession, regalrdless of who they play. Their traditional problem is in converting chances they create. Infact the real truth is that the Black Stars create few clear-cut scoring opportunities.

Botswana exposed Ghana long before they were reduced to 10-men following the dismissal of Mesnah in the 66th minute. Botswana had taken a few shots at goal and debutant keeper  Adam Kwarasey did well to keep out some potential goals from getting in.

There is little doubt that a sharp shooter like Ramathlakwana could have missed the chance to equalise in the 66th minute when from a counter attack, he broke clear. Mensah, as experienced as he is, had little choice but to commit a professional foul.

Without doubt the Ghanaians knew a red card would follow despite mounting a protest even before the referee reached for his front pocket. And Mensah was off.

The only credit for Ghana was their ability to maintain shape and hold on for a narrow win even after being reduced to ten men.

The Zebras, who were missing talismanic players in Joel Mogorosi who broke his arm in training last week and suspended Dipsy Selolwane, did well to hold Ghana at bay, and they look like a side that could cause Guinea and Mali a few problems in the next matches.

Ghana now share top spot with Mali who were also lucky to register a narrow 1-0 victory over battling Guinea.

Bakaye Traore got the rare Mali chance in the first half, and from the edge of the box, fired a shot which took a wicked deflection to leave Guinea goalkeeper Naby Yattara stranded after 30 minutes.

Guinea had threatened to overrun Mali with youngster Alhassane Bangoura, Ibrahima Diallo and Ismael Bangoura troubling the Carthage Eagles in the middle of the park. Mali have their defence to thank for holding out the Guinean raids.

Pascal Feindouno thought he had found the equaliser for the Sylie Nationale towards the end of the match, but Mali keeper Soumaila Diakite. That was a second brilliant save Diakite had to pull off after doing the same against Bangoura on 18 minutes.

At the end Mali held onto their slender 1-0 victory.

What is clear from this group is that it is far from being over for either Mali or Ghana. The joint leaders still have battles on their hands against the Sylie Nationale and the Zebras. There is still everything to play for in Group D.

Does this group not qualify to be dubbed the group of death? Only time will tell.

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