Big match preview: Ghana v Mali


Match: Ghana v Mali
Venue: Stade Sebastien Charlety
Kickoff: 1830 GMT
The Black Stars will be looking to redeem themselves after the weekend’s loss to Senegal in Tuesday night’s friendly against Mali.

The international encounter will be the second game in the past seven days by both sides who are shaping up their teams ahead of the upcoming Afcon and World Cup qualifiers.

Mali suffered a 4-3 defeat to Gabon last week Monday and the new group of the Eagles will also be fighting to impress returning head coach Alain Giresse who fully takes charge of office on April 1.

Ghana coach Avram Grant described the performance against Senegal as “satisfactory” and hopes to build on the defeat.

“We have another game against Mali on Tuesday and I believe we can build on how we played the Senegal game and make things better,” he said.

He is expected to make changes in the starting line-up that was defeated 2-1 by Senegal.

Fresh faces
Evian TG centre-back Jonathan Mensah who got injured in the game is expected to have his place taken by Daniel Amartey while goalkeeper Razak Braimah could be made to start from the bench.

A couple of the young faces in Grant’s squad are expected to be handed their chances – Richmond Boakye-Yiadom made his long return to the team with a goal in a cameo against Senegal while Seidu Salifu and Ebenezer Assifuah will be fancying their turns to showcase themselves.

Ghana and Mali have 21 games played between them with the Black Stars coming out victors in 10 games, drawn 6 and lost to the Eagles 5 times.

In their last encounter, Mali defeated Ghana 3-1 in the third place finals of the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations held in South Africa. Ghana had early on won by a lone goal courtesy Mubarak Wakaso when the two sides met at the group stage.

Current Form
Ghana: W W W L L

Mali: L L D D L
TEAM NEWS
Ghana
Jonathan Mensah looks set to be rested from the Mali game after missing out on training on Monday. He is the only player in Avram Grant’s 22-man squad injured at the moment.

Avram Grant has said he will play a 4-3-3 system, deaprting from the 4-4-2 used on Saturday. 

Mali
Aside Mali losing captain Seydou Keita, Diaby Abdoulaye and Mamoutou N’Diaye to various degrees of injuries, new striker Moussa Marega will not be available for the Eagles after he was recalled by his Portuguese club Maritimo for preparations towards a Portuguese Cup semifinals clash with FC Porto.

His place has been taken by youngster Tiécoro Keita who plays for French third division side Paris FC.

SQUADS
Ghana
Goalkeepers: Razak Braimah (Mirandes, Spain), Fatau Dauda (AshGold)

Defenders: Harrison Afful (Esperance, Tunisia), John Boye (Erciyesspor, Turkey), Jonathan Mensah (Evian, France), Jeffery Schlupp (Leicester City, England), Gyimah Edwin (Mpumalanga Black Aces, South Africa), Daniel Amartey, (FC Copenhagen, Denmark)

Midfielders: Rabiu Mohammed (Krasnodar, Russia), Emmanuel Agyemang-Badu (Udinese, Italy), Afriyie Acquah (Sampdoria, Italy), Solomon Asante (T.P. Mazembe, DR Congo), Christian Atsu (Everton, England), Mubarak Wakaso (Celtic, Scotland), Andre Ayew (Olympique Marseille, France), Frank Acheampong (Anderlecht, Belgium), Seidu Salifu (Club Africaine, Tunisia)

Forwards: Jordan Ayew (Lorient, France), Kwesi Appiah (Crystal Palace, England), Ebenezer Assifuah (FC Sion, Switzerland), Richmond Boakye-Yiadom (Atalanta, Italy), David Accam (Chicago Fire, U.S.A)

Mali
Goalkeepers: Mamadou Samassa (Guingamp, France), Soumaïla Diakité (Esteghlal Khuzestan, Iran), Aly Yirango (Guingamp, France)

Defenders: Drissa  Diakité (Bastia, France), Molla Wagué (Udinese, Italy), Adama  Tamboura (Randers, Denmark), Idrissa  Coulibaly (Hassania Agadir, Morocco), Mohamed O.Konaté (Renaissance Berkane, Morocco), Kalifa Traore (SCO Angers, France)

Midfielders:  Bakary Sako (Wolverhampton, England), Tongo Hamed Doumbia (Toulouse, France), Yacouba Sylla (Erciyesspor, Turkey), Sambou Yattabaré (Guingamp, France), Abdou Traoré (Bordeaux, France), Samba Sow ( Karabüksport, Turkey), Adama Traoré ( Lille, France), Birama Touré (Brest, France)

Forwards: Cheick Fantamady Diarra (Auxerre, France), Modibo Maïga (Metz, France), Mana Dembelé (Nancy, France), Tiécoro Keita (Paris FC, France)

Follow Gary on Twitter: @garyalsmith


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