Afcon 2017: Grant pleased by 'mature' performance

Ghana coach Avram Grant (centre)
Ghana coach Avram Grant (centre) reacts to his side's win over Mali

Coach Avram Grant has hailed the manner of Ghana's 1-0 win over Mali that put them in the Africa Cup of Nations quarter-finals, even though they had to hold on in the second half.

"We dominated the game completely in the first half," he said. "Then Mali played direct and we needed to fight.

"On this pitch it was very difficult to counter-attack and passes went astray.

"In the first half we played good football and in the second half we played mature football."

After captain Asamoah Gyan put the Black Stars ahead on 21 minutes it appeared Ghana would go on to comfortably win the match.

But Mali came on strong after the interval and were very unlucky not to get at least a draw from the Group D match.

Grant said: "In tournaments you play for the points, we were winning 1-0 and we want to qualify.

"Yes, we were pushed back in the second half and it was not planned but I am happy for the six points."

Ghana face Egypt in their final match on Wednesday and a draw will ensure they finish top of the table.

Mali still have a chance to qualify if they beat Uganda, also on Wednesday, but they would also need Egypt to lose to Ghana and it would then come down to goal difference.

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