Andre Ayew's first-half header helped Ghana beat 10-man Burkina Faso 1-0 last night to advance to the African Cup of Nations quarter-finals and book a match against the hosts Angola. It was a game injury-hit Ghana had to win after they had lost their only other match, 3-1, to group winners Ivory Coast. The group was reduced to three teams after Togo withdrew from the tournament when an armed attack on the team bus killed two members of its delegation two weeks ago.
Ghana were missing key men John Pantsil, John Mensah and Stephen Appiah through injury while the Inter Milan midfielder, Sulley Muntari, was not considered for selection for the tournament due to discipline problems. The day before the match their problems worsened when Chelsea's Michael Essien was ruled out of the tournament. Ayew took advantage of some woeful marking to head home the winner after half-an-hour. A free-kick cleared to the right was sent back into the box finding the Marseille midfielder unmarked, and he diverted his header downwards into the right-hand corner.
Burkina Faso's hopes of staging a comeback suffered a setback with the 66th-minute dismissal of defender Mamadou Tall following a challenge which left Gyan clutching his face, although the decision appeared a harsh one. Haminu Draman then missed a clear chance to double Ghana's lead when he put the ball into the side netting. The Black Stars finished with three points after two games, one behind Ivory Coast. Burkina Faso ended with one point. Ghana, four-times champions, will play Angola on Sunday in the country's capital, Luanda. Ivory Coast will stay in Cabinda for their quarter-final against fellow World Cup qualifiers Algeria.
* With agencies