A dejected Black Stars are expected home today, aboard a chartered flight empty-handed after disappointingly losing the third place playoff at the Cup of Nations to Mali Saturday.
Bordeaux striker, Cheick Tidiane Diabate, scored a brace for the Eagles of Mali to avenge a group stage 0-1 loss to the Ghanaians who lost focus and were tactically indisciplined on the day.
Serbian trainer, Goran Stevanovic, who played without his arrow head, Asamoah Gyan, changed tactics about three times introducing Prince Tagoe along the way and brought on Mawahudu Alhassan after Isaac Vorsah was shown the red card for a needless tackle.
Vorsah’s 64th minute red card was Ghana’s third in the January 21 to February 12 tournament after skipper John Mensah and Derek Boateng exit earlier.
The only thing the Ghanaians could boast of on the day was that they strung their passes well but lacked the needed bite upfront as the Ayew brothers’ magic failed to glitter.
Jordan who took the striking role in place of Gyan was heavily policed by the French dominated Malians, most of whom, play in the same French League 1 with the Marseille player (Jordan).
Diabate struck the opener on 23rd minute against the run of play when goalkeeper Adam Kwarasey spilled a shot within the “18” for the Bordeaux player to slide home.
Diabate made it double, diving to connect Adama Tamboura’s left-back shot to seal victory for the Malians, their best result at the Nations Cup since 1972.
And if Ivorian Didier Drogba and Chris Katongo and colleague Emmanuel Mayuka fail to score in Sunday’s final, Diabate will share the honour with them as the tournament’s top scorer.
The Malian players understandably lifted Coach Alain Giresse shoulder-high after the action-packed match tossing him in the air in expression of their joy.
Line-up (Ghana): Adam Kwarasey, John Paintsil, Lee Addy, Isaac Vorsah, Jonathan Mensah, Anthony Annan, Samuel Inkoom/Prince Tagoe, Abu Mohammed/Sulley Muntari, Jordan Ayew, Kwadwo Asamoah and Andre Dede Ayew