Ghana beat Mali … To book WAFU semi-final spot

GHANAGhana defeated Mali to book their place in the semi-finals of the 2017 WAFU Cup of Nations on Saturday at the Cape Coast Sports Stadium with six points, thanks to an audacious strike from Hearts of Oak poster boy, Winful Kwaku Cobbinah.

The Black Stars B coach, Maxwell Konadu, maintained his starting XI that defeated Guinea 2-0 in the opening game in the Group A but Mali boss made a single change to his line-up.

Mali were looking dangerous upfront in the opening minutes, but Kida’s first shot on target by the sixth minute was calmly dealt with by Aduana Stars goalkeeper Joseph Addo before Moussa Kone sent in a feeble effort minutes later.

The Stars picked their pieces together by the quarter-hour mark. Felix Addo was brought down just on the right edge of Mali’s box but the resulting kick was wasted by Cobbinah, after his cut-back pass to Stephen Sarfo was cleared away.

On the 22nd minute, Ghana were lucky not to have conceded the first goal after Kone’s header missed the target narrowly with the goalkeeper already beaten.

Sarfo and Felix Addo failed to find a breach in Mali’s defence as the home fans continued to grow in frustration.

Isaac Twum combined with Felix by the 54th minute but the former’s effort was tipped over the bar by goalkeeper Diarra.

A minute later, Mali had the biggest opportunity of the game but Kida surprisingly fluffed the chance with the goal at his mercy.

On 63rd minute, Kone went past two of his markers but fired wide once again, leaving Ghana off the hook.

Coach Konadu brought on Kwame Kizito for Felix to partner Stephen Sarfo upfront before ringing changes in other positions and once again, the substitution proved fruitful as the hosts began to cause troubles for Mali’s defence.

Ghana finally found the breach in Mali’s back-half when Gideon Waja set up Cobbinah on 72nd minute, with the Hearts’ superstar firing from 25-yards out into the right top-corner for the opening goal.

Kizito was unfortunate not to have registered his second goal of the competition after he connected a cross from Cobbinah. The effort was cleared off the line.

With Mali pushing men forward to find the equaliser, Samuel Sarfo, Vincent Atinga, Amos Frimpong and Thomas Abbey stood firm at the back to preserve Ghana’s lone-goal victory. –





Goal-scorer Cobbinah (centre) being joined by his colleagues to celebrate

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