Mensah off as Ghana beat Botswana; Traore fires Mali past Guinea

    John Mensah scored the only goal of the game for Ghana against Botswana but was also sent off.

    Story highlights

    • Ghana beat Botswana 1-0 in Africa Cup of Nations Group D match
    • John Mensah scores the winner for Ghana but then gets sent off
    • Ten-men hang on for victory as Ghana take control of Group D
    • Mali beat Guinea 1-0 in other Group D game thanks to Bakaye Traore goal
    John Mensah proved the match-winner for Ghana as they beat Botswana 1-0 at the Africa Cup of Nations but his side had to fight hard for their victory after the defender was sent off.
    Mensah struck the only goal of the game on 25 minutes but will now miss Ghana's next match with Mali after he was shown a straight red card for a professional foul.
    Ghana's ten-men clung onto to three points to go top of Group D, while they were later joined by Mail who beat Guinea 1-0 thanks to Bakaye Traore's goal.
    Mensah, who plays for French club Lyon, bundled a corner into the net with his knee after a flick on from Asamoah Gyan, who is on loan at Al-Ain in the United Arab Emirates from English club Sunderland.
    Gyan had a chance to double Ghana's lead soon after but he blazed over the crossbar before Botswana squandered their best chance when John Boye cleared Moemedi Moatlhaping's header.
    Mensah was dismissed in the 67th minute, bringing down Jerome Ramatlhokwane as the striker raced clear on goal, but Botswana couldn't force an equalizer.
    "We controlled the game until the red card for Mensah," Ghana coach Goran Stevanovic was reported as saying by the AFP news agency.
    "We created some chances but they closed down the game with 10 men behind the ball.
    "All the same, it was very important that we won our first game of a tournament that has already produced some surprises."
    Botswana coach Stanley Tshosane defended his team's defensive tactics. "I'm not happy with the result but with the performance especially in the second half," said Tshosane.
    "We were cautious at the beginning because we have never played Ghana before at this level and so we preferred to study how they play."
    Mali are also on three points after they saw off Guinea in the Gabonese capital of Franceville.
    The only goal of the match was scored when Bakaye Traore's long range strike deflected off a defender to loop over Guinea's goalkeeper Naby Yattara on the half hour mark.