Ghana booked their place in the quarter-finals of the Africa Cup of Nations as they earned a narrow 1-0 win over Mali at the Stade de Port-Gentil.
Asamoah Gyan’s scored the only goal of the game midway through the first-half as the 2015 runners-up ensured they progressed with a match to spare.
The Black Stars had to withstand constant pressure from Mali as they went in search of an equaliser which proved to be elusive.
Moussa Marega was the main guilty party for Mali as he missed two excellent chances before Ghana saw out their second consecutive 1-0 win at the tournament.
They remain top of Group D, while Mali must beat Uganda in their final group game if they are to stand any chance of reaching the last eight.
Ghana, bidding to claim their first Africa Cup of Nations crown since they won the 1982 edition of the tournament, started the brighter of the two sides and could have gone ahead after just six minutes.
Andre Ayew, the match-winner in the victory against Uganda in their opening group game, shot wide before Gyan spared his blushes by breaking the deadlock with a well-directed header 15 minutes later
His goal saw him become Ghana’s all-time record goalscorer at the Africa Cup of Nations with eight, surpassing Osei Kofi.
Ghana were rarely troubled throughout the first half but Mali came out for the second period with renewed purpose as they attempted to claw themselves back into the match.
Marega was not the only Mali player to squander a decent opportunity as Salif Coulibaly’s effort flew just wide of the post.
Hamari Traore was also unfortunate to see his 20-yard volley sail beyond the top corner as Ghana held on.