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Africa Cup of Nations
9 February 2013
• Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth
Referee: E. Otogo-Castane
• Attendance: 6000
M. Samassa 21'
S. Kéita 48'
S. Diarra 90'+
K. Asamoah 82'
That's all from me for tonight guys and girls, but do be sure to check-in on Goal.com for our LIVE coverage of tomorrow night's final that pits Nigeria against Burkina Faso.
FULL-TIME: MALI 3-1 GHANA The Eagles swept past their more illustrious opponents with a confident performance in Port Elizabeth to seal third-place in the competition thanks to goals from Samassa, Keita and Diarra. Asamoah had set up a tense final with a goal late on that briefly made it 2-1, before Diarra sealed the victory with a well-taken volley in added time. It is the second successive year that Mali have finished third in the African Cup of Nations.
90' + 5'
And there is the final whistle!
90' + 4'
90' + 4'
90' + 4'
HANG ON, MALI HAVE SCORED A THIRD!! Diarra volleys a lovely effort past Dauda to increase his side's lead and all but blow the final whistle for the referee.
90' + 3'
The cross is poor though and Tamboura is able to hack the ball away. Surely that's game over.
90' + 3'
And we have ANOTHER Ghana corner. One last chance to equalise?
90' + 1'
Yellow CardS. Asante
90' + 1'
Good decision from the referee. Asante throws himself to the deck in an attempt to win a penalty for Ghana but the referee sees straight through him and hands him a yellow card for diving. I'd give that effort from Asante a 3/10.
Traore heads over his own crossbar, which means Ghana have another chance to swing a corner into the box...
Ghana have a corner with 30 seconds of normal time remaining...
That is some controversial playacting from the Mali centre-back Coulibaly! He is tapped on the arm by Asante as the two jostle at a free kick, but goes down as if he has been shot. Not a good look.
WOW. STAT: Here is the foul score for tonight's game... Mali 26-20 Ghana. That is outrageous!
Tamboura is down for Mali and wants medical treatment but Ghana take their time in putting the ball out of play for this to happen. Replays show Asamoah was late in the tackle there, it should have been a free kick.
ASAMOAH PULLS ONE BACK FOR GHANA!! THE SCORE IS 2-1 NOW!! The Juventus player hits a hopeful drive at goal from 25 yards that Diakite should deal with comfortably. However, the Mali keeper makes a complete mess of parrying the shot and ends up palming it into his own net. A shocking error could have handed Ghana a lifeline here.
Traore swings a corner to Keita at the back of the penalty area but the midfielder displays how his age is beginning to catch up with him as he makes a hapless effort to connect with the cross with a flamboyant overhead kick.
Asante has been Ghana's best player this evening by a fair distance, having looked dangerous with the ball at his feet particularly when running at Mali's less than convincing full-backs.
Mali now make a change of their own, as one of their goalscorers Samassa is withdrawn to wild cheers from the team's fans.
Ghana seem to have given up hope of turning this match round, as their captain and star forward Gyan is hauled off to be replaced by Emmanuel Clottey.
Tempers are flaring yet further in Port Elizabeth and this match is on the brink of descending into anarchy. Foul after foul is being spotted by the referee but they are not resulting in bookings, which is absolute madness as quite a few of them easily deserve a yellow at least.
KEITA HAS SCORED.... an offside goal! The Mali captain thinks he has increased his side's lead to three, only for the linesman to raise his flag as the midfielder slotted his shot past Dauda from an offside position. Nearly Seydou, nearly.
Ghana have a free kick in their own half after Asamoah is closelined by Kevin Traore. Yet more suspect tackling from the Mali midfielder!
STAT: Ghana have gone 31 years without a title at the senior level on the continent.
That is raw unadulterated ambition from Keita! The 33-year-old attempts a Ronaldinho-esque cross-shot from a free kick over on the right that has Dauda sprawling to palm over the crossbar. That would have been some goal!
Gyan hits the set piece well but Diakite is well-positioned to deal with the curling shot, the Mali goalkeeper diving to his right to tip the ball away.
Ghana have a deliciously-positioned free kick 30 yards from goal, just left of centre...
I feel for Asante out there, the Ghana winger has been on the receiving end of some horrid tackles, the latest of which is dealt out by the scorer of Mali's first goal, Samassa.
I think that effort from Wakaso just about sums up Ghana's night - awful.
WAKASO BLAZES HIS PENALTY OVER THE BAR!! The joint top-scorer in this year's competition fires miles over from 12 yards, which is very surprising when you consider three of his four goals in the competition have come from the spot!
PENALTY TO GHANA!! The Black Stars have a way back in after the referee awards a very debatable spot-kick...
Isaac Vorsah has a fabulous opportunity to make it 2-1 but his header from a corner sails high over Diakite's crossbar.
STAT: The Black Stars' captain, Asamoah Gyan, is two goals away from equalling Wilberforce Mfum’s record as the highest Ghanaian scorer in the history of the AFCON.
The referee looks desperate to be centre of attention here and is ridiculously exaggerating everything he is doing at the moment, from marching over to reprimand players to emphatically waving his arms when gesturing for a throw in. It's just a tiny bit strange...
Christian Atsu shoots over for Ghana as they try and claw their way back into the game, they will have to do better than that if they want to chip into Mali's two-goal lead though.
We have got a game on our hands now guys and girls! Ghana have got to throw men forward if they want any chance of sealing third-place.
KEITA EXTENDS MALI'S LEAD!! The Mali legend sweeps home a confident finish from 10 yards to make it 2-0 after connecting sweetly with Coulibaly's cross from the right.
Mali's Tamboura has started the second half horribly, by crashing into Asante after the Ghana player had cleverly flicked the ball past him.
Ghana have made one change at the interval, by bringing on Jonathan Mensah for John Boye.
Yellow CardAdama Tamboura
We are back underway here in South Africa...
Join me in 10 minutes or so for the second half of this exciting game!
HALF-TIME: MALI 1-0 GHANA Samassa's well-taken diving header in the 21st minute separates the two teams at the break in this third-place play-off, despite Ghana having more of the ball. Mali will perhaps feel aggrieved not to be more than one goal ahead after Samassa and Keita both had fine opportunities to make it 2-0 late in the half.
45' + 1'
And there is the whistle to mark the end of the first half!
KEITA SHOOTS WIDE!! Mali should be a few goals clear of their opponents here! The ex-Barca star has a glorious chance to double his side's lead after driving into the penalty area, but his half-volley goes the wrong side of the post.
GREAT RUNNING FROM SAMASSA!! The Mali goalscorer comes within inches of making it 2-0 after chasing what looked like a lost cause, beating Dauda to the ball and then prodding a shot towards goal that bounced off the outside of the post and out behind for a Ghana goal kick.
Thoughts on the first half on a postcard please, hit me up on Twitter at @charliefscott.
The rain continues to pour down onto the pitch at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, and it really is proving detrimental to the match - Ghana in particular are struggling to string passes together in these far-from-perfect playing conditions.
The Black Stars fail to test Diakite from the set piece though, as Tamboura heads the ball emphatically clear.
Ghana win a corner on the right after decent play from Asante...
Former Barcelona player Seydou Keita is beginning to influence the game in the centre of midfield for Mali. The 33-year-old has been playing some scything passes towards Samassa in this first half as Mali try and threaten on the break.
We've seen some dangerous challenges in recent minutes here, the latest of which is produced by Kevin Traore and inflicted on the leg of Asante.
Yellow CardIsaac Vorsah
DIAKITE MAKES A GOOD SAVE!! That man Wakaso nearly nets his fifth of the campaign with a vicious drive from 20 yards but Mali's goalkeeper is equal to it and parries the ball away from danger. That was not far from being an equaliser.
STAT: Ghana’s Mubarak Wakaso is the joint top scorer at the AFCON after netting four goals. The Espanyol midfielder has scored three of his four goals from the penalty spot.
The rain in Port Elizabeth is not helping the quality of play over in South Africa, the ball is zipping off the playing surface and making it very hard for the players to judge the bounce.
Naughty from Kevin Traore!! The Mail midfielder trips Asante after already fouling him over on the right, and is very fortunate not to become acquainted with the referee's notebook as a result. That was certainly a bookable offence in my eyes!
Asamoah then has a similar chance on the right-hand side of the Mali penalty area and this time comes much closer to testing Diakite. However the Mali goalkeeper does not have to make a save as the ball crashes into the side netting.
ASAMOAH VOLLEYS WAY WIDE!! The Bianconeri star gets a volley all wrong after the ball sat up nicely for him at the back post after the free kick was whipped into the Mali box by Asante. I think that shot may have gone out for a throw...
Ghana have an opportunity to equalise immediately, having won a free kick in a dangerous position on the right-hand side...
GOALLLL!!!! MALI HAVE THE LEAD THROUGH SAMASSA!! The big striker nets his second of the competition with a marvelous diving header past Dauda after fine build-up play on the left wing from Tamboura. That was a textbook finish from the French-born attacker. 1-0 TO MALI!
A decent challenge from Adama Coulibaly stops a Ghana attack in its tracks, just as they looked set to burst into the Mali penalty area. That was a crucial interception from the full-back.
The stop-start nature of the play so far is summed up by the rising foul-count. Mali 3-4 Ghana. If only that was the scoreline!
Both sides have had a clear shot at goal in the opening stages here, but neither have made the most of their chance. There have been some wayward passes in the first 16 minutes, with neither team settling that well so far.
SMART STOP FROM DIAKITE!! Solomon Asante does very well to dribble his way into the Mali penalty area on the right and his pull-back to Gyan is equally good. The former Sunderland striker cannot find the back of the net though, as his well-struck effort is saved down low by the Mali goalkeeper.
STAT: Ghana have had more shots on target (25) than any other side at the 2013.
GOOD SAVE BY DAUDA!! Mamadou Samassa forces a decent stop from the Ghana goalkeeper with a low right-footed shot from the right side of the penalty area. That's the first time Dauda has been called into action in this game and he dealt with that competently.
Salif Coulibaly roams forward for Mali and unleashes a fearsome drive from 20 yards with his left peg but the ball is always moving away from goal, which means the score remains 0-0 for the time being.
I've had a chance to get my hands on Mali's starting XI, so here it is! MALI (4-4-2): Diakite; A. Coulibaly, Tamboura, Diawara, O. Couibaly; S. Coulibaly, Keita, M. Traore, K. Traore; Samassa, Diabate
Sloppy from Adama Tamboura! The Mali centre-back gifts Solomon Asante possession 30 yards from his own goal and the Ghana attacker hits a speculative first-time effort that flies a yard of so over Soumbeila Diakite's crossbar.
Kissi Boateng - making his debut for Ghana this evening - does brilliantly down the left for Ghana to nutmeg Adama Coulibaly and nearly set Kwadwo Asamoah up for a goalscoring chance but the ball slips off the surface and runs away from the Juventus midfielder.
I've got to say the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium looks far from full over in South Africa, there are a large number of empty red seats - which is sad to see.
AND WE ARE OFF! Mali get the ball rolling to start this showpiece game...
Mali's XI will be with you momentarily guys and girls! Apologies for the delay.
GHANA (4-4-2): Dauda; Afful, Vorsah, Boye, Boateng; Asante, Awal, Asamoah, Mubarak; Atsu, Gyan
The teams are out on the pitch over in Port Elizabeth and we are just minutes away from kick-off. In the final moments before we get underway, I want to hear your predictions for the match, send them over to @charliefscott on Twitter!
Mali were 2-0 winners on that occasion, with Cheick Diabate scoring both goals in that match. However in the group stages of this year's cup Ghana were 1-0 victors over Patrice Carteron's side.
Remarkably the two sides have now met four times in the last two editions of the competition, having been drawn in the same group twice, while they also played against one another in the third-place play-off last year in Equatorial Guinea.
Good evening ladies and gentlemen and welcome to Goal.com's LIVE coverage of the African Cup of Nations third-place play-off between Mali and Ghana at the Nelson Mandela stadium in Port Elizabeth.
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