AFCON 2013: Mali v Ghana Live Updates
- Venue: Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth
- Date: Saturday 9 February
- Kick-off: 18:00 GMT
Ghana and Mali meet for the fourth time in the last two Africa Cup of Nations – having being drawn in the same group and ending up in the third place play-off at both tournaments.
The Black Stars won this year’s Group B meeting, as they did in last year’s finals, but Mali prevailed to finish third in Equatorial Guinea and Gabon.
Both have a player suspended – Ghana’s Mohamed Rabiu and Mali’s Samba Sow.
The two sides are also likely to give several of their fringe players a game.
Mubarak Wakaso’s penalty gave the Black Stars the edge in a tight 1-0 victory over the Eagles in Port Elizabeth.
Wakaso will hope to play on Saturday as he battles with Nigeria’s Emmanuel Emenike to be the tournament’s top scorer. Both are on four strikes apiece heading into the last two games of the tournament.
Ghana defender John Pantsil is an injury doubt after being taken off with an injury during the semi-final defeat by Burkina Faso, but Derek Boateng, who felt unwell after the match has now recovered.
Mali coach Patrice Carteron:
“It’s an important game for us because it’s really hard to finish in third place.
“Most of the big nations – Ivory Coast, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia – didn’t [manage] it.
“So we have to appreciate having been in the semi-final, and we have to focus on this game against Ghana.
“Of course the players were disappointed but now they have to be realistic and realise it’s a good thing to play this game and try to become the third place [team] for the second year [running].”
Ghana defender John Pantsil:
“Third place is equally good, that’s the medal zone.
“Playing against Mali and getting that medal I think will be very, very good for the team.
“[It will] also boost the young players and get them on their feet for next month’s World Cup qualifiers.
“We are here to compete and we want to be in the medals, so we have to go all out and play well and get a win to prove we are a good side.”