Mali vs Ghana: 5 Things We Learned As Jordan Ayew Inspires Comeback Win In 2026 World Cup Qualifiers

Mali vs Ghana: 5 Things We Learned As Jordan Ayew Inspires Comeback Win In 2026 World Cup Qualifiers

Godwin Nii Armah Tagoe
updated at June 7, 2024 at 6:27 AM
In this article:
Jordan Ayew logo
J. Ayew
Crystal Palace logoFGhana logo
Ernest nuamah
Nordsjaelland logo--
Mohammed Kudus logo
West Ham United logoMGhana logo
Ghana logo
Mali logo
FIFA World Cup logo
FIFA World Cup
  • Four-time African champions, Ghana, sealed a 2-1 come-from-behind win against Mali in their 2026 World Cup Qualifiers on June 6
  • Goals from Jordan Ayew and Ernest Nuamah sealed the Black Stars' first win in 2024 after failing to win in the six previous outings
  • Up next for Otto Addo and his charges is another crucial qualifier match against the Central African Republic next Monday, June 10

PAY ATTENTION: Checkout Fixtures; Live Scores; Results and Tables section on Sports Brief and never miss out on the action ⚽️

Jordan Ayew came off the bench to help Ghana beat Mali 2-1 in the 2026 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers on June 6.

The Crystal Palace forward helped the Black Stars record a comeback victory against the Eagles, recording their first win in 2024.

Jordan Ayew, Ghana, Black Stars, Mali, 2026 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers, Ernest Nuamah.
Jordan Ayew scored the match-winner for Ghana as they beat Mali 2-1 in their 2026 World Cup Qualifiers on June 6, 2024. Photo by Catherine Steenkeste.
Source: Getty Images

Having been on the back foot for the most part of the game, the four-time African champions pulled the chestnut out of the blazing fire thanks to Otto Addo's inspired substitution, Pulse Sports reports.

Sports Brief looks at the five things we learned from the game as Ghana keeps its World Cup dreams alive with a smash-and-grab win in Bamako.

Mali vs. Nigeria: 5 things we learned from WCQ tie

1. Otto Addo's substitution wins the game

The former Ghana international, who took charge of his maiden competitive game since he was appointed the Black Stars' head coach, demonstrated his tactical nous in the most important game yet.

He made three substitutions after the 70th minute and two more in the 88th minute, and his changes proved to be a masterstroke. Abdul Fatawu Issahaku combined with Jordan Ayew for the match-winner.

While the goal was scrappy in nature, it matters little in the grand scheme of events as the Black Stars recorded their first away win since 2022, as noted by 3News.

2. A game of two halves for Ghana

Addo's set-up for the game, a 3-4-2-1 formation, saw his side adopting a defensive approach, often sitting deep with little to no action in the Malian final third.

Invariably, their 'negative' approach brought unnecessary pressure, which resulted in a fortuitous goal for the Eagles. But a more front-foot strategy injected some urgency, forcing an Ernest Nuamah equaliser before Ayew's winner.

While it was clear the plan was to secure a draw, the decision to draft in Elisha Owusu meant Thomas Partey had the license to move forward, and some of his surging runs nearly resulted in a goal on the counter.

3. Kudus did not come to the party

The pre-match talk was about how Mohammed Kudus would affect the game, but unfortunately, the West Ham United star couldn't translate his red-hot form at club level into this tie.

Perhaps because of the climate in Bamako, or possibly because of the good work done by the Malian team in policing one of the best footballers on the continent, he failed to inspire.

Whenever he got on the ball, the usual Kudus magic was not felt in the game, and it came as no surprise Addo ejected him for Issahaku, who assisted Jordan in getting the all-important win for Ghana.

4. Mali let themselves down

The Eagles will look back at this game and count it as a golden opportunity missed. Despite dominating possession and creating the best of goal-scoring chances, Mali only had a goal to show in this game.

They had Ghana on the ropes for the most part of the game but failed to utilise their dominance and were made to pay dearly, with the Black Stars delivering a late goal to clinch victory.

In three home games in the qualifiers, the West Africans have amassed just four points from a possible nine and must dig deep while hoping their rivals slip up in the remainder of the qualifiers.

5. Ghana still has work to do

It is true that Addo's charges secured the vital win in Mali, but the former Borussia Dortmund trainer scout will be the first to admit his team has yet to hit its stride.

Despite his team's high potential, they have yet to play as a cohesive unit. In this game, for instance, their pressing was incoherent, especially in the first half.

While he is yet to have his imprint on the team, there is a clear-cut plan on how Addo wants to his side to play, but he will need time to put his ideas into play.

Ghana's Partey receives warm reception in Mali

Previously, Sports Brief covered the heartwarming reception Thomas Partey received from a gathering of Arsenal fans in Mali upon his arrival in Bamako for the World Cup qualifiers.

A pivotal player at the London club since his transfer from Atletico Madrid in the summer of 2022, he journeyed alongside his Black Stars compatriots for the tie against Mali.

Godwin Nii Armah Tagoe photo
Godwin Nii Armah Tagoe
Godwin Nii Armah Tagoe is a Ligue 1, Bundesliga, and La Liga editor with five-year experience. He previously worked with Sports Corna and 360SportsGH.