Home hopes crumbled for Gabon in the lottery of a penalty shootout at the African Nations Cup on Sunday but Ghana's hopeful search to end a long drought at the finals continued.
Mali beat co-hosts Gabon 5-4 on post-match kicks after extra time in Libreville to douse the passion of an expectant populace in first of the day's quarter-final encounters. The match ended 1-1 as Mali equalised just six minutes from the end.
Ghana, seeking their first Nations Cup title in 30 years, won the later game in the provincial town of Franceville, beating Tunisia 2-1 after extra time courtesy of a goalkeeping howler.
An embarrassing mistake by Aymen Mathlouthi left him devastated at the end of a tempestuous encounter but his grief was nothing like that of Gabon's Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
The French-born striker, whose Mohican haircut, devastating pace and goal-scoring acumen has turned him into a national hero, was the only player to fail to convert in the penalty shootout that followed the draw in Libreville.