Ghana’s big dream was unrealised at the 2015 African Cup of Nations finals, which saw the Elephants of Ivory Coast ending a drought of 23 yeards after 9-8 win on penalties, Sunday.
Ivory Coast, who won their second title since their only previous win in 1992, endeared the hearts of football fans across the globe, with a line up that boasts of Liverpool’s kolo Toure, Machester City’s
Yaya Toure and Wilfired Bony, with A.S. Roma’s Gervinho.
The Black Stars have played Côte d’Ivoire more times than any other country in the African Cup of Nation
Highlights : BARRY SCORES AND COTE D’IVOIRE ARE YOUR 2015 AFRICA CUP OF NATIONS CHAMPIONS!
The 23 year wait is over, and in the first tournament in the post-Didier Drogba era, the Elephants are crowned champions!
This is quite ridiculous from Barry, who goes down and is again claiming he is hurt. It is as if he doesn’t want to take the penalty. Yaya Toure comes over and gives him some words of encouragement.
BARRY SAVES! Down to the goalkeepers and Brimah, who has had a nigtmarish shootout, sees his shot saved! Barry can win it for his side now, but he can’t peel himself off the ground in celebration!BARRY SAVES! Down to the goalkeepers and Brimah, who has had a nigtmarish shootout, sees his shot saved! Barry can win it for his side now, but he can’t peel himself off the ground in celebration!
Serey Die scores! Brimah is getting nowhere near these Cote d’Ivoire penalties. That was a soft one from the midfielder but the keeper again guesses the wrong way.
THAT WAS CLOSE! John Boye looked nervous, but he certainly didn’t shoot it that way. Barry guesses right but the defender powers a shot just inside the post to shift the pressure onto Cote d’Ivoire again.
Here we go again! Bailly scores and we go on to a 10th shooter! Another great penalty, this one hit with power into the top right corner.
WONDERFUL! A splendid penalty from Baba who rolls his shot just inside the post. Unstoppable, that. Ghana lead again, 7-6.
KANON SCORES! You can’t script this any better! The defender sends Brimah the wrong way and forces a ninth shooter!
6-5! Ghana back in front again! Afful calm and collected, almost passing the ball into the top corner. No chance for the keeper. Cote d’Ivoire have to score again…
WHO WILL BLINK FIRST! Journeyman Kolo Toure makes no mistake, blasting a shot through the arms of the keeper to level things up yet again!
SPECTACULAR PENALTY! Sheer relief for Avram Grant as Agyemang-Badu’s shot hits the inside of the post and rolls in. So close!
LEVEL AGAIN! Another player brought on for penalties, Salomon Kalou, converts his spot kick and we need two more shooters!
MENSAH SCORES! Pressure back on the Elephants as the centre-back sends the keeper the wrong way.
EXTRA SHOOTERS NEEDED! Brimah guesses the right way but Yaya Toure hits the perfect penalty past the keeper and just inside the post. 3-3 with the sixth shooters up for each team.
IMPORTANT PENALTY! Andre Ayew slots his penalty home confidently, sending Barry the wrong way after the keeper spent the last two minutes faking an injury. Cote d’Ivoire have to score here. two defenders to get himself into space on the right, but he cannot pick out either Bony or Gervinho in the centre as Afful charges onto the end of his pass to intercept and clear the threat. Just 10 minutes remain and and finally the game has sprung to life!
78 mins SUPERB SAVE! Brimah is at it again, diving to his left to keep Bony’s shot out, but it would not have counted anyways as the ball went behind for a goal kick in the build up to the chance. Still, that has to be a real confidence booster for the Ghana keeper.
76 mins After much anticipation and debate, Aurier delivers a teasing cross in towards the far post, but Brimah dives out fearlessly to punch it clear. He gets good distance behind his clearance, sending it out for a throw.
74 mins Yaya Toure wins a free kick for his side atop the area as Appiah is penalized for a bit of a soft foul. It was good defensive cover from the striker, but the experience of Toure proved to be enough to influence the referee’s decision. Could this be the chance for them to break the deadlock?
72 mins GREAT CHANCE AGAIN! Atsu, who has been a real bright spot in attack for Ghana, charges forward on the right and beats his marker before cutting it back for Gyan in the centre. The pass is just the slightest bit behind the striker, who cannot contort his body enough to direct a shot on target.
70 mins JUST WIDE! They’re coming on now, are Ghana! Mubarak sends a wonderful ball into the area from a set piece just past the half-way line. Mensah meets it and heads it back across goal for Boye, but the defender cannot direct his final effort on target despite rising well to meet it.
69 mins NOT BAD AT ALL! Ghana keep possession without much threat in attack, so Mubarak says enough is enough and drives a thunderous left-footed shot at goal. He strikes it with real power, but it just fails to dip in time as it sails a few feet over the bar.
67 mins Substitution (OUT) Max-Alain Gradel Seydou Doumbia (IN)
67 mins The first change of the match has been made and we will see if this can be a difference maker for Cote d’Ivoire. Max Gradel is replaced by the now Roma forward Seydou Doumbia, joining his new teammate Gervinho in attack. The former CSKA man has plenty of pace and quality in front of goal, and should keep the Ghana defence on their toes.
65 mins STAT ATTACK: Ghana are playing in a record ninth Africa Cup of Nations final. They have split the previous eight with four triumphs and four defeats, with their last success coming in 1982.
63 mins The pace is picking up again as the teams exchange attacks. Still the game is crying out for a better final ball, as the defences have not been made to work too much. Less than 30 minutes remain now, who can provide the quality needed to break the deadlock?
61 mins Cote d’Ivoire are not taking advantage of their opportunitues. A cutback pass sets up Gervinho at the top of the area but a superb tackle from Acquah sniffs out the chance. The pressure remains on and the Elephants win a corner, but the ensuing delivery is straight into the arms of Brimah who makes a simple catch.
59 mins Nonsense! Boye and Bailly tussle atop the area in anticipation of the free kick, and the Cote d’Ivoire man gets in the face of his opponent before going to ground after being on the receiving end of a slight head-butt. It is a shocking lapse in concentration from the Ghanaian defender, but the referee tells Bailly to get up and does not issue out a single caution. That could have been much, much worse.
58 mins Yellow Card Siaka Tiéné
58 mins Tiene finds himself in the referee’s book, the second player to be cautioned in this match. It is a good foul to take though as he tugs back on the shirt of Atsu to prevent a dangerous looking attack from coming to fruition.
56 mins NEEDED A BETTER BALL! This time Cote d’Ivoire generate a chance and Aurier is at the heart of it, running onto the end of a pass from Serey Die. The right-back is well known for his crossing ability and has Bony waiting in the centre, but sends a low ball straight at Mensah who makes a simple clearance.
54 mins Gervinho is not doing enough to get himself in possession, while his teammates scrape and claw to get him the ball. A pass is played over the top, but the Roma forward lazily waits to see if it will get to him instead of rushing onto it, which allows Boye to make an easy clearance.
52 mins WASTED OPPORTUNITY! Afful sends a sensational ball over the top for Afful to chase, and the winger beats his man as he approaches the penalty area. Ayew and Appiah are wide open in the centre, shouting for a pass, but Atsu doesn’t try to get it across, instead laying it off for Gyan to have a shot. It winds up being a difficult chance to take for the striker who lashes his shot wide.
50 mins Ghana generate the first chance of the match, but it is hardly worrying for Cote d’Ivoire. Bony heads clear a corner, straight at Acquah, but the midfielder sends his follow-up shot miles over the bar. That is a good indication as to the sort of end product we saw throughout the first half.
48 mins If either side can get a breakthrough in the early stages of this second half, it would really open the game up. For now both teams are playing very cautiously, almost scared to be the ones to concede. Fortune favours the brave, so we shall see who wants to take charge and chase after an opener!
46 mins Ghana get the second half underway! No changes to tell you about at the break.
The players are slowly making their way back out onto the pitch as the second half approaches. We could be just 45 minutes away from crowning a new champions – though extra time could very well beckon!
HALF TIME: COTE D’IVOIRE 0-0 GHANA. The Elephants enjoyed a really positive start to the match and dominated the first quarter of an hour, but have since taken a back seat as the Black Stars appear to be growing in confidence. Christian Atsu delivered the only real scoring opportunity of the match, a wonderful individual effort, striking the woodwork from 25 yards out. Everything is still to play for in the second half!
45 + 1 mins. The referee sounds his whistle and the first half comes to an end after just one minute of stoppage time.
44 mins It is looking more and more like we will head scoreless into the break. Despite both side’s best efforts, defending has been top notch throughout the first half and a breakthrough has never really appeared imminent. The rain has not let up either, which certainly has played its part on the match.
42 mins Barry with an appaling clearance straight at Gyan, but the striker cannot beat Kanon to take the chance. Afful follows up and commits a hard foul, but escapes with only a warning as the referee refrains from taking out a card.
40 mins GREAT DEFENDING! Gervinho shows excellent skill, quickly changing his pace to bear Baba on the right and breaking into the area. The left-back recovers incredibly well, however, to reach in from behind and dispossess the tricky Roma forward. That was a very important intervention.
38 mins Tiene goes hard into the back of Mubarak, which presents Ghana with a chance from the ensuing set piece. The midfielder delivers into the area from 40 yards out, but Barry comes off his line with confidence to collect.
36 mins SIDE-NETTINE! Great pass from Mubarak to pick out the diagonal run of Andre Ayew, playing the Marseille man through on goal. Bailly applies good pressure, however, staying with his stride for stride, forcing the shot wide.
34 mins LUCKY! A long, innocent ball played into the area for Gervinho is covered well by Boye. The centre-back tries to volley it clear, but scuffs it back towards his own goal. Luckily for him, Brimah was paying close attention as the keeper manages to collect without much of an issue.
32 mins The pace has slowed a bit and the game is becoming a bit of a chess match in midfield. The two sides are playing very disciplined, knowing with the quality in attack for both teams, one simple mistake could well be the difference between winning the title and going home empty-handed.
30 mins After such a lively start from Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana have managed to settle in and level the playing field. It has been a very even match in the last 10-15 minutes and for all the pressure the Elephants have managed, it is the Black Stars who have come closest to opening the scoring.
28 mins Good decision by the referee! Serey Die slides into a challenge with Gyan and the striker flies through the air rather theatrically. The Cote d’Ivoire man is already on a yellow, and the referee shows him mercy as he walks away with only a warning. It turns out to be the right decision as the midfielder made contact with the ball first, so it would have been incredibly harsh – not to mention incorrect – had he been sent off there.
26 mins NEARLY THE OPENER! So unlucky for Christian Atsu, who does so well to get by a couple of defenders and create space for a shot. He unleashes a rocket at goal and has Barry beaten, but strikes it off the woodwork! He certainly has a knack for scoring from distance!
24 mins Wonderful build up play between Bony and Gradel, but the winger just slips at the vital moment as the now Manchest City forward had played a return pass to him at the top of the area, allowing Mensah to clear.
22 mins Asamoah Gyan has gotten away with one here, as he stomps on the foot of Eric Bertrand Bailly behind the referee’s back. The intent was certainly there and the defender has come out worse for wear. The Black Stars captain could very well have been off had the referee seen the inexcusable stomp.
20 mins Much better spell here for the Black Stars who manage to string a few passes together in the attacking half. They cannot find a way to break down this stingy Cote d’Ivoire defence just yet, but this is certainly a start. They seem a bit timid when they enter the final third as the nerves of a cup final show their effects.
18 mins STAT ATTACK: This is a rematch of the 1992 final between Ivory Coast and Ghana, which the Elephants won in the 12th round of the shootout after the game finished scoreless after 90 minutes and extra time
16 mins FIRED OVER! Horrible defending by Rahman Baba who gives the ball away carelessly inside his own end and then gets caught out as Max Gradel is slipped through on goal. From a bit of a difficult angle, the Saint-Etienne forward puts his shot just high and wide at the near corner.
14 mins Yellow Card G. Serey Die
14 mins Simple save! Yaya Toure’s shot is collected easily by Brimah and the keeper starts Ghana on a counter, though possession is again squandered. Serey Die looks to start his team forward but gets his studs up into the groin of Mubarak on the follow through. The midfielder picks up a yellow card and there is a coming together here with the Ghana players hardly pleased with the contact made.
13 mins Great run from Siaka Tiene who streaks down the left and cuts into the centre with real intent. He sees Mubarak giving chase and allows the midfielder to put in a challenge, winning his side a dangerous free kick from 30 yards out. This is a real chance for Cote d’Ivoire…
11 mins Ghana have settled in nicely at the back now, keeping the Elephants out and making some important interceptions at the back. They have shown no ability to keep possession, however, which has prevented them from once entering the final third with more than 10 minutes gone already.
9 mins The team sheet may say four at the back, but it does appear as though Cote d’Ivoire are playing with a back three, using Serge Aurier and Siaka Tiene as wing-backs. It has provided them with plenty of width to their attack as Ghana look a bit stretched in midfield at the moment. Christian Atsu and Andre Ayew must honour their defensive obligations or it could be a long night for the Black Stars.
7 min Ghana have yet to really settle into the match but they need to get sorted quickly here. They are struggling to keep possession which has allowed Cote d’Ivoire to apply relentless pressure on the back four. With the quality they have in attack, the Black Stars can ill-aford to sit back and defend for 90 minutes. Slow starts were a bit of an issue for them in the group stage.
5 mins Early pressure from Cote d’Ivoire and that will have to please coach Herve Renard. They win themselves a corner, but Ghana clear. It goes only as far as Serey Die who latches onto the end of it for a shot, but Rahman Baba gets a good block in to deny the opportunity. Pressure remains on, however, and the Elephants win themselves another corner.
3 min Lively start from the Elephants who create the first trouble of the match for Ghana on the counter. Gervinho shows excellent pace to get behind the midfield, but a strong touch lets him down as John Boye makes a poised challenge to sniff out the chance.
1 min The Elephants kick-off and this tasty final is underway! Cote d’Ivoire are in orange. Ghana in white. This has all the makings of a classic, so sit back and enjoy the action!
Ghana faces Cote d’Ivoire in the final of the Africa Cup of Nations Equatorial Guinea 2015 at the Bata Stadium in Bata, Equatorial Guinea.
This game is predicted to be one of the most difficult finals of the continental competition as the Black Stars have not won the tournament in 33 years while the Ivorians have also not won it in 23 years.
The two teams’ only meeting in this competition’s final produced a goalless draw stalemate in 1992, which was won 11-10 on penalties by the Elephants.
The last time these sides met was in 2010 during the AFCON, which Côte d’Ivoire won 3-1 at the group stage.
The Elephants have reached their third AFCON final in the last six editions.
They lost the 2006 and 2012 finals on penalties while the Black Stars have won this continental showpiece on 4 occasions and became the first nation to win the trophy for keeps, but have failed to win the title since they last won it in 1982.
The starting line-up for Cote d’Ivoire: B. Barry, W. Kanon, S. Tiéné, E. Bertrand, K. Touré, S. Aurier, Y. Touré, G. Serey Die, W. Bony, Y. Gervinho, M. Gradel.
The starting line-up for Ghana: R. Brimah, H. Afful, J. Boye, J. Mensah, A. Baba, A. Acquah, W. Mubarak, A. Gyan, C. Atsu, A. Ayew, K. Appiah.
Live commentary courtesy goal.com