Jordan Ayew scores winner as Black Stars stun in-form Mali

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Jordan Ayew

The Black Stars of Ghana secured a hard-fought 2-1 victory against Mali in their matchday three game of the 2026 World Cup qualifiers on Thursday night in Bamako.
Coach Otto Addo opted for a youthful lineup at the Stade de 26 Mars, leaving Jordan Ayew out of the starting eleven and deploying a 5-2-3 formation.
Mali started strong, testing Ghana’s defense in the 4th minute, but goalkeeper Lawrence Ati Zigi made a crucial save.

The Eagles continued to press, dominating the early stages, but Ghana’s defense remained solid.
The Black Stars found it difficult to create chances and struggled with their build-up play, resorting to long balls to launch counterattacks, which were not very effective.
In the 35th minute, Tariq Lamptey made a promising run into Mali’s box, but his pass to Mohammed Kudus failed to find the net. A minute later, Thomas Partey’s excellent pass to Antoine Semenyo also went wide.
Ghana nearly conceded before halftime, but Mohammed Salisu’s crucial block kept the score level.
Semenyo came close again with a curling shot that missed the target. However, Mali broke the deadlock in the 46th minute with Kamory Doumbia’s strike, ending the first half 1-0 in their favour.
Ghana started the second half without any changes and came close to equalizing through Semenyo, but his effort was blocked, resulting in a corner. Mali regained momentum and threatened to extend their lead, but Gideon Mensah’s recovery prevented further damage.
In the 55th minute, Mali made three substitutions. Ghana continued to press and finally equalized in the 58th minute through Ernest Nuamah.
Despite this, Mali dominated again and had several opportunities, including a close header by El Toure that went wide.
Otto Addo then substituted Elisha Owusu for Ernest Nuamah in the 72nd minute. After equalizing, Ghana struggled to maintain possession and faced continued pressure from Mali, who nearly scored again in the 75th minute.
With 12 minutes remaining, Jordan Ayew replaced Semenyo, and Abdul Mumin came on for Alidu Seidu. Despite Mali’s threats, Ghana’s defense held firm.
In the final minutes, Abdul Fatawu Issahaku and Ibrahim Sulemana were introduced for Mohammed Kudus and Abdul Salis Samed.
Ghana almost clinched the win with a good build-up, but Jordan Ayew’s pass to Thomas Partey didn’t result in a goal.
However, in the 94th minute, Ayew scored a powerful goal to secure a 2-1 victory for the Black Stars.
This win marks Ghana’s first away victory since 2022. The Black Stars now sit 2nd in Group I with 6 points from three games.
They will host the Central African Republic in their matchday four game at the Baba Yara Stadium on June 10.

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