SAMBA Diakite played 90 minutes as Mali suffered their first defeat in the Africa Cup of Nations on Thursday.
Diakite was handed his first start of the tournament in the 1-0 defeat against Ghana in a tight Group B encounter.
Ghana’s Mubarak Wakaso scored from the penalty spot after 38 minutes after Emmanuel Agyemang-Badu was felled in the box in Port Elizabeth, South Africa.
Seydou Keita flashed a free-kick wide for Mali after Ghana goalkeeper Fatau Dauda was lucky to stay on the pitch after handling outside his area.
And whilst Black Stars midfielder Agyemang-Badu also hit the post it was a game where Mali rarely threatened.
Diakite now faces the Democratic Republic of Congo on Monday evening (5pm UK) in Mali's final group game.
The second placed Eagles will need at least a point and hope Niger don’t beat group leaders Ghana if they are to qualify for the quarter finals as runners-up.