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Themba Hadebe, Associated Press
Ghana's Asamoah Gyan celebrates his goal during their African Cup of Nations Group D soccer match against Mali at the Stade de Franceville in Franceville, Gabon, Saturday Jan. 28, 2012.

FRANCEVILLE, Gabon — Asamoah Gyan's curling free kick and a superb finish from Andre Ayew gave Ghana a 2-0 win over Mali at the African Cup of Nations on Saturday, edging the title contender toward the quarterfinals.

Gyan's goal in the 63rd minute brought to life a cagey encounter between the group favorites at Stade de Franceville.

Ayew collected a backheel from Gyan and teased two defenders before firing a low shot in at the near post as Ghana finished strongly.

Three teams — Ghana, Mali and Guinea — are still in the running for two quarterfinal places in Group D with one round of games to play. Ghana's victory ensured outsider Botswana was eliminated.

Striker Cheick Diabate came closest to scoring for Mali when his first-half free kick bounced off both posts and out.