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Ivory Coast Champions Of Africa After Dramatic Shootout

The 2015 African Cup of Nations in Equatorial Guinea is over and after a nerve-wrecking penalty shootout, the Ivory Coast came out victorious and lifted the trophy for the first time in 23 years. Boubacar Barry became the hero as the Ivorian goalkeeper slotted home the final penalty in the 11th round.

The Ivory Coast had another AFCON final be decided on penalties, and this time they were finally on the winning side. Second choice goalkeeper Barry is now the hero of a nation as he first saved the penalty kick in the 11th round by Ghana’s goalkeeper Brimah Razak and then scored the winner.

Ivory Coast came flying out the gate in the opening 10 minutes, having most of the possession and really trying hard to establish some pressure against the Ghanian defense early. After the opening flurry, the teams settled down and it became much more of a tactical battle, with neither sides taking any risks. Ghana played much more through the middle and then tried to find either Andre Ayew of Christian Atsu on one of the flanks so they could break in to the middle of the pitch and create some offense. Ivory Coast went more long in order to find forward Wilfried Bony, but he often found himself way too lonely up top to really create any proper chances.

Ivory Coast picked up the first booking of the night when Serey Die got show a yellow card after a nasty tackle on Wakasu Mubarak in the 15th min.

The first real chance of the game came in the 16th minute, when Max Gradel got a bit of space at the edge of the box and hit a hard shot just over the right top corner of the Ghana goal. Ghana’s Atsu had the best chance of the half when he blasted a long-range shot off the post. The Chelsea winger (currently on loan at Everton) was by far the best player of the first half, along with fellow countryman Ayew.

Ghana took over more of the possession as the half went on and had a slight advantage after as the teams went in to halftime.

The second half started out with a lot of fouls and there was a sense that both teams were content with keeping it strict at the back and not try and risk anything going forward. Ghana got the first proper chance of the half in the 69th minute on a set piece when John Boye headed it just wide of the Ivory Coast goal.

The game continued to be a tight affair, and Ivory Coast were not shying away from the challenges, and had 17 fouls after 71 minutes of play. Ghana tried to push on to create something but the Ivory Coast defense kept them at bay as the rain kept pouring down. Ghana kept pushing on, but neither team was able to break the deadlock during regulation.

Neither team was really anywhere close to settle this in extra time. A lot of shots, but non on target for Ghana and Ivory Coast trying to use the counter attack. This would be settled by penalty kicks.

SOCCER: FEB 08 African Nations Cup - Final - Ghana v Ivory Coast

The penalty kicks turned out as followed:

Round 1:

Wakasu (Ghana) scored.
Bony (Ivory Coast) missed. Blasted it off the crossbar.

Round 2:

J. Ayew (Ghana) scored.
Tallo (Ivory Coast) missed, put it well wide of the left post.

Round 3:

Acquah (Ghana) missed. Great save by Barry in the Ivory Coast net.
Aurier (Ivory Coast) scored.

Round 4:

Acheampong (Ghana) missed. Well wide of the left post.
Doumbia (Ivory Coast) scored. Absolutely blasted it in the top corner.

Round 5:

A. Ayew (Ghana) scored.
Y. Toure (Ivory Coast) scored.

Round 6:

Mensah (Ghana) scored.
Kale (Ivory Coast) scored.

Round 7:

Badu (Ghana) scored.
K. Toure (Ivory Coast) scored.

Round 8:

Afful (Ghana) scored.
Kanon (Ivory Coast) scored.

Round 9:

Rahman (Ghana) scored.
Bertrand (Ivory Coast) scored.

Round 10:

Boye (Ghana) scored.
Die (Ivory Coast) scored.

Round 11:

Razak (Ghana) missed.
Barry (Ivory Coast) scored.

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