The Eagles of Mali defeated the Black Stars of Ghana by 3-0 on Friday evening during an international friendly between the two West African countries.
Goals from right back and skipper of the day Hamari Traore in the 3rd minute, El Bilal Toure five minutes into the second half and then Amadou Haidara in the 75th minute condemned Ghana to a humbling defeat on Charles Kwablan Akonnor debut as Ghana coach.
Mali are in the 2021 AFCON qualifying group A with Guinea, Namibia and Chad. The team of coach Mohamed Magassouba are second in the group on 4 points behind leader Guinea.
The Black Stars are table toppers of their group on six points in the group that include South Africa, Sudan and Sao Tome and Principe.
Here are the five biggest takeaways from SPORTSWorldGhana.com from the Mali 3 Ghana 0 game.
1.Gideon Mensah was terribly bad
The games against South Africa and Sao Tome and Principe were really good for Mensah but the former WAFA defender endured a torrid time against Mali . The first two goals form Mali were scored via the left side of the Ghanaian defence where he operated. He was the defensive weakest link in the Ghana team and Akonnor could not tolerate further as he was took him off for Caleb Ekuban in the 70th minute.
2.Jordan Ayew continues to struggle
Zero goals in his last 13 matches. The former Marseille attacker has not scored a goal in the last 13 competitive matches for Crystal Palace. The son of Abedi Ayew was voted Palace player of the 2019/20 season but the goals are now scarce for Jordan and on Friday the story remained unchanged against Mali.
3.Richard Ofori will always be Ghana number 1
Lawrence Ati-Zigi got a rare chance to start in goal for the Black Stars after the unavailability of first choice goalkeeper Richard Ofori was confirmed before the game. To be fair, Ati-Zigi has improved at St. Gallen after becoming the first choice custodian at the Swiss club but his defence let him down on Friday night in Antalya. The three goals he conceded makes it difficult to believe he can out up any credible competition against the South Africa-based shot stopper.
Ofori was ruled out of the game because of issues of paperwork but Ati-Zigi did not deliver any scare. Not at all.
4.Ghana lacked creativity in coach C.K Akonnor’s debut
Mali had never beaten Ghana in an international friendly before and so this is a first. Akonnor’s team lacked creativity and hardly threatened the goal area of the Malians. The build of Ghana was too slow especially in the first half even though the starts improved in this regard when likes of Kamaldeen and Ekuban were introduced.
This Mali defeat is not a mere one. It is an indication of the sort of job Akonnor needs to do ahead of the next AFCON qualifying matches.
5.Exciting debut for Tarique Fosu
He didn’t look like a new player in the Ghana set up. The Brentford winger was very exciting going forward and defensively he was solid. His passes were accurate and going forward we believe he has and shown what it takes to win that position in the Ghana team.