Ghana target early quarter-final qualification at Africa Cup of Nations

Black Stars Gabon11Black Stars jubilating after scoring against Uganda

Ghana can secure a place in the quarter-finals of the Africa Cup of Nations with a group game to spare if they beat Mali in Group D in Port-Gentil on Saturday.

Avram Grant’s side, beaten on penalties by the Ivory Coast in the 2015 final, set themselves up nicely in this year’s tournament by edging out Uganda 1-0 courtesy of an Andre Ayew spot-kick in their opening match on Tuesday.

It was not a vintage performance from the Black Stars but, on a terrible playing surface, Grant is only interested in winning matches for now, regardless of the manner in which they do it.

“In this tournament at the start it’s important to take the points and then you have to come to your best at the right time,” said the Israeli former Chelsea coach.

“In the last tournament we played very good against Senegal in the first game and we lost, even if at the end of the day we got to the final, so we just wanted to take the three points.

“Of course we can play better but this is a tournament and every game will be different.”

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