Posted by News Express | 10 February 2013 | 4,233 times
Those who say that thunder never strikes the same person twice apparently never reckoned with the Black Stars of Ghana. For the second time in just a year, the Ghanaian senior national team went from being favourites to win the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) to returning home empty-handed.
Last night, history repeated itself when the Eagles of Mali – yes, the same team that denied Ghana the bronze at the 28th AFCON hosted by Gabon and Equatorial Guinea – once more sent the Ghanaians home without any medal. Whereas last year’s score line was 2-1, the less fancied Malians extended the gap this time around, making it 3-1 at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth, South Africa.
It was yet another night when the over-rated Ghanaians who reached this stage of the competition largely due to referees’ assistance woefully failed to raise their game and were punished accordingly. What is more, even their penalty specialist Mubarak Wakaso blasted wide when the Black Stars won their umpteenth penalty of the tournament.
Mamadou Samassa handed the Mali the lead in the 21st minute, powering home a low header after being supplied by Adama Tamboura.
Three minutes on the restart, veteran midfielder and skipper Seydou Keita burst into the box and struck home a cross supplied to him from Ousame Coulibaly to make it 2-0. Kwadwo Asamoah pulled one back with a stunning shot from outside the box in the 81st minute but Sigamarry Diarra volleyed home a looping ball over the Ghanaian defence in the last minute of added time to completely burry the Black Stars that refused to shine when it mattered most.
The three-week tournament which stared January 19 will climax this evening with Nigeria squaring off with first-time finalists Burkina Faso at Soccer City in Johannesburg in a game which the two-time champions are favoured to win.
•Photo, courtesy MTN Football, shoes Ousmane Coulibaly of Mali battles with Christian Atsu of Ghana in yesterday’s losers’ match.
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