Mali midfielder Mahamane Traore says they must beat Ghana if they want to top Group B at the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations.
The Eagles play their second group game against the Black Stars on 24 January after both teams have engaged Niger and DR Congo in their respective opening games.
Traore reckons Mali's knowledge of the Ghana team will give them the edge in the group.
"We all know Ghana is a very strong team. They defeated us last year, then we beat them for the third place," he said.
"Both teams now know each other very well. It is up to us to try to beat them during the first leg, in order to end the group phase in first position."
Ghana beat Mali in the group stage at the last Nations Cup finals in Gabon and Equatorial Guinea but suffered a 2-0 reverse in the third play-off match.