Orange Africa Cup of Nations – Saturday 28 January 2012
Botswana (1) – (6) Guinea
Botswana (nicknamed, Ezimbizi – The Zebras) had battled hard in their opening fixture against Ghana (nicknamed The Black Stars) before losing 1-0. Guinea (nicknamed, Syli national – National Elephants) also lost their first group game by a similar margin. To date in the tournament no side had been on the end of a heavy defeat, but that changed today. Guinea ran out 6-1 winners, a game in which the main activity took place in the opening half. Sadio Diallo opened the scoring on 15 minutes, although Botswana were back level on 23 minutes after converting a twice taken penalty. However, before the half-hour mark Guinea were back in front when Sadio Diallo restored their lead. Botswana were looking open at the back and the score was soon 3-1 when Abdoul Camara netted. Worse was to follow when Patrick Motsepe was sent-off for a very bad challenge in time added-on in the first-half. Guinea totally put the game out of reach with a fourth from Ibrahima Traoré just before the end of the first period. The second-half didn’t have quite the drama of the first forty-five, and Guinea scored two late goals through Mamadou Bah (84 minutes) and Naby Soumah (86 minutes).
Ghana (2) – Mali (0)
In contrast to the first game of the day, the significant action came in the second-half. Two excellent strikes saw Ghana virtually book their place in the knock-out phase of the competition. A beautiful curling free-kick from Asamoah Gyan gave Ghana the lead on 63 minutes and the lead was doubled on 76 minutes by André Ayew. From a lovely back-healed pass from Gyan, Ayew went right, then left to shake off two defenders before delivering a shot inside the post. A much improved performance from Ghana, but all still four sides in Group D could yet qualify.
Final Group D fixtures: Wednesday 01 February – Botswana v Mali and Ghana v Guinea