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Africa Cup of Nations

Ghana coach rewards team for ‘mature football’

Port-Gentil (Gabon) (AFP) – Ghana coach Avram Grant said his team’s 1-0 victory over Mali on Saturday that sealed their progress to the Africa Cup of Nations quarter-finals owed much to their ability to hold on in the second half.

“In tournaments you play for the points. In the first half we went 1-0 ahead, we were dominating and we had chances to score even more goals,” said the Israeli.

Asamoah Gyan headed in a Jordan Ayew cross to grab the only goal of the game midway through the first half in the Group D encounter in Port-Gentil.

Ghana stood firm in the second period as they made it two wins from two matches at the tournament.

“In the second half they had the ball more and we needed to fight for the second ball,” added Grant.

“In the first half we played good football, in the second half we played in my opinion mature football.”

If Ghana win the group they will stay in Port-Gentil for the last eight, while if they go through in second place they will move to Oyem.

The pitch in Port-Gentil is in a terrible condition and Grant said: “We want to qualify and we want to play on a good pitch.

“There is no point complaining about the pitch but I am not happy with this — we are a technical team and we try to play good football.

“If the other pitch is better of course I’d prefer the other pitch.”

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