Ghana, playing with 10-men failed to take third place at the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations Saturday after a 2-0 defeat to Mali at the Estadio Nuevo in Malabo.
The Black Stars ended their tournament on a poor note as the match for third place saw the dismissal of Isaac Vorsah in the 64th minute after picking a second yellow card. And that was Ghana's third red card in the competition.
Perhaps Ghana's best performance came in the semi-final against Zambia, though they lost 1-0. But the team failed to find form allowing Diabate Tidiane to score both goals in either half from simple tap-ins.
With an encouraging crowd drumming and signing, the game was lost after the second goal as Ghana's hopes of playing for pride suffered completely on the night.
In the 23rd minute, Ghana got more bodies into the box to defend a corner kick but the Eagles still managed to find the back of the net through Diabate from five yards out after the first attempt was spilled by Adam Kwarasey.
Minutes later, Kwarasey pulled a great save to deny Mali a second goal after Lee Addy had lost his marker on the left side of defence.
Jordan Ayew was the first player to be booked for dissent. Goran Stevanovic ringed the first change after 35 minutes as he replaced Samuel Inkoom for Prince Tagoe.
Ghana struggled to find a response and the first half was brought to an end with the Malians slightly on top.
The second half started with the introduction of Sulley Muntari for Mohammed Abu. Vorsah got booked for a foul after 46 minutes as Muntari injected much energy into the attack but the final balls always failed to find their target.
After 64 minutes, Vorsah's night was over following his dismissal for picking up a second yellow card.
The Ghana bench reacted quickly sending on Masahudu Alhassan for Kwadwo Asamoah with the Black Stars down by a man and chasing the game.
Ghana's struggles were made worse as the Malians beat the off side trap and a shot across the face of Kwarasey's goal was tapped in by Diabate in the 80th minute.
Mali made the numerical strength count a lot as they always went on the break and capped a good performance with their victory.
Starting line-up Adam Kwarasey, John Paintsil, Lee Addy, Jonathan Mensah, Isaac Vorsah, Anthony Annan, Samuel Inkoom/Prince Tagoe, Mohammed Abu/Sulley Muntari, Jordan Ayew, Kwadwo Asamoah/Masahudu Alhassan, Andre Ayew
Subs: Daniel Adjei, Daniel Opare, John Mensah, Emmanuel Agyemang-Badu, Masahudu Alhassan, Sulley Muntari, Charles Takyi, Prince Tagoe, Asamoah Gyan, Ernest Sowah
Suspended: Derek Boateng and John Boye