The Black Stars coach says his team’s laid-back approach against Mali on Saturday was not premeditated Ghana coach Avram Grant is happy with Saturday’s win over Mali at the Africa Cup of Nations, shedding light on their much-criticized second half showing.
Captain Asamoah Gyan rose high to head home the only goal of the match after 21 minutes at Stade de Port-Gentil, putting the Black Stars through to the quarter-finals.
As was the case in Tuesday’s group opener against Uganda, Ghana ceded control of the game to the Eagles in the second half, drawing another round of backlash from fans. “I’m happy for the win and I thank my boys for showing maturity, especially in the second half,”
Grant said. “We didn’t plan to sit back in the second half. In tournaments like this, you need to collect points and that’s what we did. “In the first half, we scored and missed many chances, but we had to secure our victory in the second half.”
Mali have been a tough nut to crack for the Black Stars at the Afcon, their last four meetings prior to Saturday’s clash going two wins apiece. “Mali played a physical game but I used my normal tactic and we won,” Grant added. “We have six points and we played a good game. “We just wanted to qualify and I don’t want to speak about the pitch again.”
Ghana play Egypt in their last group game on Wednesday, although the result of the fixture will be inconsequential to the former’s hopes of playing in the last eight.
The Black Stars, four-time champions, are seeking to win the Afcon after 35 years.