Ivory Coast new African champions!from JEAN OSCAR-PIERRE in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea
MALABO, (CAJ News) – IVORY Coast have won the Orange Africa Cup of Nations after beating rivals Ghana in a match decided by a dramatic penalty shootout.
The marathon penalty session followed an absorbing match the West African giants played at a lively Estadio de Bata in the Equatorial Guinea capital city.
The teams ended goalless in regulation and extra times, ending 9-8 in a sudden death shootout.
The Elephants of Ivory Coast started the half the stronger of the two sides with reigning African Footballer of the Year, Yaya Toure, testing the opposition goalkeeper, Razak Braimah, with a setpiece from range but it was smothered.
Max Gradel wasted a glorious opportunity two minutes later as he blazed high from close range when the bustling Gervinho supplied him.
Ghana’s Black Stars would however finish the half hungrier of the two sides as they hit the post in quick succession, through Wakaso Mubarak and Anrdre Ayew, in their bid for an opener.
The second half continued in a similar trend to the first, plenty of action in the final third but with no harvest.
The last chance to settle the duel, it appeared, would fall to Wakaso but his setpiece was narrowly wide.
Ghana ‘keeper Braimah had his effort saved from the spot.
However, a goalmouth scramble at the other end summed up matters as the 30th edition of the tournament ended in a stalemate, the second for the Ivorian in three years, culminating in extra time.
With penalties always assuring a winner, in sudden death in this case, Ivory Coast would emerge as victors.
Meanwhile, the Democratic Republic of Congo finished third after beating hosts Equatorial Guinea 4-2 on penalties on Saturday.
Braimah, Afful, Rahman, Mensah, Boye, Wakaso, Acquah, Ayew, Atsu, Gyan, Appiah.
Barry, Aurier, K. Toure, Bailly, Kanon, Tiéné, Y. Toure, Die, Gradel, Gervinho, Bony.
– CAJ News
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