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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Jan 29, 2008

Mali and Ivory Coast out to avoid Ghana clash

SEKONDI, Jan 29 (Reuters) - Mali and Ivory Coast will battle it out for top spot in African Nations Cup Group B in Accra while Nigeria's fate is out of their hands when they take on Benin in Sekondi on Tuesday (both 1700 GMT).

Ivory Coast and Mali want to avoid a quarter-final against Ghana in Accra on Sunday after the host country finished top of Group A on Monday.

A draw would ensure the Ivorians win Group B and meet Guinea in Sekondi on Sunday as well as securing Mali's place in the last eight with Nigeria eliminated even if they beat Benin.

Mali coach Jean-Francois Jodar insisted last week that there would be no arrangement between the two teams.

Nigeria can qualify in second place if they beat Benin and Ivory Coast, who secured their place in the last eight on Friday with a game spare, beat Mali.

Ghana won Group A with nine points when they beat Morocco 2-0 on Monday while Guinea's 1-1 draw with outsiders Namibia was enough to finish second with four points, one ahead of Morocco.

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