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Sports

Is it me, or is the ref blind wonders Ghana's Gyan

media Guinea's Traore Ibrahima during their African Cup of Nations Group D Reuters/Louafi Larbi

Five things we learned about the final round of games in Group D.

  • Not to tempt fate. Only a day after raving that there had been no diabolical refereeing decisions, there was a diabolical refereeing decision. Leading 1-0, Ghana ’s Asamoah Gyan nutmegged Guinea captain Kamil Zayatte near the left by-line of the
Dossier: Africa Cup of Nations 2012
  • Guinea penalty area. The defender, so affronted to have been ridiculed in such a tight space, quickly recovered his position in front of the striker and then, with both hands, simply pushed him over. Both players – along with the dribble of spectators in the stadium - awaited the consequences. But the South African referee Daniel Bennett observed nothing untoward with a blatant shove in the box and waved play on. Gyan sat on the floor crosslegged in disbelief. Ref-er-ee. Diabolical. That’ll learn me.

  • Guinea are a marksman short of being a potent force. They have pace on the flanks in Abdoul Razzagui Camara and Ibrahima Traoré but in the centre Sadio Diallo needs more incisive input than he is receiving from Ismael Bangoura. Coach Michel Dussouyer has a hungry (attacker shoving) captain in Kamil Zayatte and the expansive vision to construct an excellent team. Watch this space.
  • Ghana are a marksman short of remaining a potent force. Opposing teams appeared to have sussed out the Black Star’s lone front-man ploy. Striker Asamoah Gyan was substituted in the 1-1 draw against Guinea . His replacement, Prince Tagoe, failed to exploit a wonderful chance to make it 2-1. We won’t be seeing 4-3-3 for a while then.
  • Botswana will return home stronger for their participation at the African Cup of Nations. With only half a dozen players in anything like a professional league in South Africa , they were not disgraced in games against more experienced teams like Ghana and Mali. The 6-1 mauling by Guinea was just one of those days.
  • Mali’s Seydou Keita scores at useful times for his country. Two years ago, it was the Barcelona midfielder who got what looked like the consolation goal in the 79th minute when his side trailed the hosts Angola 4-0. Fifteen minutes later, in the dying seconds of stoppage time, he netted again to bring Mali level at 4-4. Fast forward two years and the wily old fox was up to his tricks again. He curled in a peach of a shot from the edge of the box to give Mali a 2-1 lead and the win that takes them into the quarter-finals for the first time since 2004.
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