Ghana took a significant step towards the quarterfinals and Niger secured their first ever point as the African Nations Cup continued to unfold like a slow-moving drama rather than a Hollywood thriller on Thursday.
The only goal on the sixth day of the tournament came from a Ghanaian penalty in their 1-0 win over Mali at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth. While there were no goals in the draw there between Niger and Democratic Republic of Congo later, the day was not without its entertainment with Group B intriguingly poised as it enters the final round of group games.
Ghana are top with four points from their two games, followed by Mali (3), DR Congo (2) and Niger (1) with Niger meeting Ghana in Port Elizabeth on Monday and Mali facing the Congolese on the same night in Durban.
All four teams are in with a chance of making the last eight and although it would be a surprise if Ghana did not make it, both Mali and DR Congo will believe they can make it through too. Nigeria coach Stephen Keshi and his Zambia counterpart Herve Renard agreed that one reason for the increasingly close-fought games is that the best teams in Africa are being caught up by the lesser lights – and Thursday’s events bore out their opinions.
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