The Eagles avenged their first round loss to the Black Stars in the losers' final at the 2012 AFCON
Mali defeated Ghana 2-0 in the third place match at the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations in the Estadio de Bata, Equatorial Guinea on Saturday.
Twenty-three-year-old forward Cheick Diabate scored both goals for the Eagles as defender Isaac Vorsah saw red for a second bookable offence to leave the Black Stars with 10 men on the pitch.
The game started with vigor as both teams searched for an early hold on the encounter. Nineteen-year-old Jordan Ayew, who started up front for Ghana in place of Asamoah Gyan, got the first opportunity on 21 minutes, but his shot from the edge of the box was held by Oumar Sissoko.
The Malians took the lead two minutes later when Diabate scored from close range after Adam Kwarasey had spilled a resulting shot off a corner kick. It was the Bordeaux striker who reacted quickest ahead of Vorsah and Jonathan Mensah to put the ball past the goalkeeper.
The game then went into slumber as both teams could not secure the upper hand with tension beginning to soar. Jordan Ayew received a yellow card for his challenge on Samba Sow as the game seemed to become a brawl.
Mali missed an opportunity to double its lead when Samba Diakite’s shot was kept out by Kwarasey. Diakite had dispossessed two Ghanaian defenders before seeing his shot saved.
A few moments later, the younger Ayew brother once again tested Sissoko with a snap shot, but his attempt was saved by the goalkeeper.
Vorsah earned his first yellow card for a challenge on Diabate before the end of the first period. The Ghanaians then rang in changes as they searched for an equalizer. Prince Tagoe and Sulley Muntari came on for Samuel Inkoom and Mohammed Abu as the pace in attack quickened.
Muntari saw a goal disallowed for offside on 53 minutes before Vorsah got himself into trouble for a raised leg and was sent off as a result of his second yellow card offense.
The Ghanaians fought back but attempts to run through the Malian defense by Andre Ayew were frustrated as the Eagles began to dominate the game.
Their dominance was rewarded on 80 minutes when full back Adama Tamboura’s inch-perfect cross from the left was tapped in by Diabate for the Eagles’ second goal.
The Malians therefore avenged their first round loss to the Ghanaians as they secured their first Afcon medal since 1972, when they finished second.