Ghana's No. 1

Asamoah Gyan gives Ghana victory over Mali while Egypt beat Uganda

Published on: 21 January 2017
Asamoah Gyan gives Ghana victory over Mali while Egypt beat Uganda
Asamoah Gyan heads home from Jordan Ayew’s corner to give Ghana a 1-0 win over Mali in Africa Cup of Nations Group D. Photograph: Justin Tallis/AFP/Getty Images

  • Group D: Ghana 1-0 Mali
  •  Egypt 1-0 Uganda

Asamoah Gyan grabbed the only goal of the game as Ghana maintained their 100% start in Africa Cup of Nations Group D with a tight 1-0 win over Mali in Port-Gentil.

The 31-year-old former Sunderland striker headed home in the 21st minute when he met a Jordan Ayew corner and steered the ball past the Mali keeper Oumar Sissoko.

In the second game of the day Egypt boosted their chances of reaching the knockout stages when the substitute Abdallah El Said struck an 89th-minute winner to seal a 1-0 victory over Uganda. Egypt will head into Wednesday’s final Group D clash with already-qualified Ghana needing just a point to progress, while Uganda are eliminated.

Mali had gone into the game against Ghana needing a win after their opening goalless draw against Egypt, and they were immediately put under pressure by one of the tournament favourites.

André Ayew fired wide in the early stages after being set up by Gyan, while for Mali the busy Molla Wagué looked the best bet to open the scoring.

Gyan’s opener stifled any Mali momentum and the favourites continued to hold the upper hand, with Christian Atsu hitting a shot straight at defender Hamari Traoré.

The Ghana goalkeeper Razak Brimah made a rare save to deny Moussa Marega at the start of the second half and the same player came close again moments later with a shot from a tight angle.

Jordan Ayew shot wide for Ghana but the underdogs were enjoying a good spell, with Salif Coulibaly the latest to steer a low shot just wide.

The substitute Moussa Doumbia maintained the pressure with a header just over the bar, then Traoré found the side-netting with a volley from 25 yards.

Mali continued to push for an equaliser and came close again 10 minutes from time when the substitute Kalifa Coulibaly sent a header agonisingly across the face of the six-yard box.

Egypt made the better of appalling pitch conditions in Port-Gentil to dominate the early exchanges as they looked to improve on their disappointing opening draw against Mali.

Ramadan Sobhi caused early problems, while the former Chelsea forward Mohamed Salah also looked sharp. Tarek Hamad fired just over the bar in the 33rd minute but the Ugandans slowly got to grips with proceedings and stemmed the one-way flow before half-time.

Joseph Ochaya put the ball in the net for Uganda after 55 minutes but it was ruled out for offside.

Uganda posed little threat to the Egypt defence but they were coping well at the back and restricting the favourites to few clear chances in front of goal.

But as the minutes ticked by Egypt managed to apply more pressure and Marwan Mohsen came close to grabbing the opener when he headed over in the 73rd minute.

Just when Uganda thought they had done enough to hold out, El Said, a 59th-minute replacement for Hamad, pounced on the counterattack to sweep the winner past Onyango.

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