After the heartache of a semi-final penalty shoot-out defeat to Burkina Faso, Ghana can recover to claim the prize nobody wants – a third-place finish in a major tournament.
They’re 23/20 favourites for the bronze and, given Mali’s recent hopelessness, this is a price that should be lumped on.
An emphatic 7-1 aggregate win over Botswana ensured them a plane ticket to South Africa, but the Eagles failed to deliver on the big stage. They scraped a 1-0 win over Niger in their opener and haven’t won since to support the statement that their reaching the last four was more a question of luck than judgement.
Nigeria proved this was the case by dishing out a 4-1 thrashing to claim their spot in the final.
These two met in the group-stage of the tournament, with the Black Stars running out 1-0 winners. All these factors conspire to argue that Mali’s 12/5 for victory should be a lot longer; their only hope is borne out of the theory that the Ghanaians will be licking their wounds after missing out on a place in the final. This, however, does not quantify as reasonable grounds to place a bet.
It’s now nine games since someone got the better of the Black Stars in 90 minutes and, prior to Aristide Bance’s goal in Nelspruit, no one had managed to breach their backline in three games.
They’re 11/8 to keep another clean sheet against the Malians, while a win to nil looks tastier at 9/4.
The half markets also offer some good value on this clash. Ghana have been ahead at the break in four of their five games in the tournament. The end result has been split equally between them going on to finish the job – as was the case when they last faced Mali – or ending up all square. A price of 11/5 offers a decent payout and stands a strong chance of copping for Ghana to be winning at both half and full time, while the less advisable 14/1 for the Eagles to come back and draw after the interval holds some appeal too.
All odds and markets accurate as of publication’s time and date