Black Stars FULL TIME: COTE D’IVOIRE 0-0 GHANA (9-8 PEN) By sports5050 - 08.02.15 FULL TIME: COTE D’IVOIRE 0-0 GHANA (9-8 PEN). The Elephants finally end their title drought and come out with a trophy, beating the Black Stars on penalties in the final as they did 23 years ago. They were not on their best tonight, but they certainly were deserving with their performances throughout the tournament. It does not get more dramatic than that! Brimah is inconsolable out on the field and you have to feel for the keeper. This is difficult defeat to swallow for Ghana, who fought admirably throughout. 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. 120′ + 22′ Pen SO Goal Copa 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! 120′ + 21′ Pen SO Miss Razak Brimah 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! 120′ + 20′ Pen SO Goal G. Serey Die 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. 120′ + 19′ Pen SO Goal John Boye 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. 120′ + 18′ Pen SO Goal E. Bertrand 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. 120′ + 17′ Pen SO Goal Abdul Rahman Baba WONDERFUL! A splending penalty from Baba who rolls his shot just inside the post. Unstoppable, that. Ghana lead again, 7-6. 120′ + 16′ Pen SO Goal W. Kanon KANON SCORES! You can’t script this any better! The defender sends Brimah the wrong way and forces a ninth shooter! 120′ + 15′ Pen SO Goal Harrison Afful 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… 120′ + 14′ Pen SO Goal Kolo Toure 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! 120′ + 13′ Pen SO Goal Badu SPECTACULAR PENALTY! Sheer relief for Avram Grant as Agyemang-Badu’s shot hits the inside of the post and rolls in. So close! 120′ + 12′ Pen SO Goal Salomon Kalou LEVEL AGAIN! Another player brought on for penalties, Salomon Kalou, converts his spot kick and we need two more shooters! 120′ + 11′ Pen SO Goal Jonathan Mensah MENSAH SCORES! Pressure back on the Elephants as the centre-back sends the keeper the wrong way. 120′ + 10′ Pen SO Goal Yaya Touré 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. 120′ + 9′ Pen SO Goal André Ayew 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. 120′ + 8′ Pen SO Goal Seydou Doumbia ALL LEVEL! Ghana see their 2-0 lead evaporate as we are now level at 2-2 as Doumbia powers his shot home down the centre. 120′ + 7′ Pen SO Miss Frank Acheampong HORRIBLE MISS! Unbelievable! Ghana are throwing it all away! Acheampong, another player who was brought on for the shootout sends his shot wide in the exact same fashion in which Tallo missed. Shocking stuff! 120′ + 6′ Pen SO Goal Serge Aurier SUPERB! Aurier shows his teammates how it’s done, placing a shot into the top corner. That was struck with real power and there was no keeping it out. 2-1 Ghana lead, but the pressure is back on them a bit now… 120′ + 5′ Pen SO Miss Afriyie Acquah LIFE FOR COTE D’IVOIRE! Barry makes a massive save, guessing right to keep Acquah’s penalty out. They need to score themselves now… 120′ + 4′ Pen SO Miss Gadji Tallo JUST AWFUL! Tallo, who was brought on for the sole purpose of penalties, sends his shot well wide of the left post! Absolutely abysmal! 120′ + 3′ Pen SO Goal Jordan Ayew 2-0 TO GHANA! Jordan Ayew as cool as you would like, rolling his shot just inside the left post with the keeper rooted to the spot. 120′ + 2′ Pen SO Miss Wilfried Bony HE’S MISSED IT! Well would you believe it! The new Manchester City man, Wilfried Bony, is far too casual in his approach and hits the bar! Advantage Ghana. 120′ + 2′ SubstitutionGervinhoGadji Tallo 120′ + 1′ Pen SO Goal Wakaso CLUTCH! The first penalty is so important and Wakaso Mubarak ensures Ghana take the early lead with the first shot, sending the keeper the wrong way. 120′ + 1′ SubstitutionAsamoah GyanBadu 120′ + 1′ THAT’S IT! We are headed to penalties! Brace yourselves… 120′ One minute of stoppage time before penalties. Brimah shows he’s still on top of his game as he runs off his line to collect the ball ahead of Gervinho. Both teams make their last substitutions in anticipation of penalties with Gervinho and Asamoah Gyan giving way. Two star players will not be participating in the shootout, though both of them have had their fair share of issues from the spot previously. 118′ With just two minutes to go, the players appear to have accepted the fact that this one will be settled by penalties. Certainly a late goal would come as a massive shock and it would be very harsh on the team who concede. 117′ SubstitutionChristian AtsuFrank Acheampong 116′ SubstitutionSiaka TiénéSalomon Kalou 116′ Salomon Kalou enters the match now with Siaka Tiene giving way. This is most certainly a change made by Herve Renard with penalties in mind. Meanwhile, Ghana make one of their own as Frank Acheampong enters the match in place of Christian Atsu. 114′ The free kick count for Ghana is rising as Bailly appears to be losing his head a bit here. The centre-back has been going at it with Boye all night and now has his sights set on Jordan Ayew as he committs successive fouls on the substitute. He then takes the ensuing free kick in the face and goes down as the medical staff comes out to attend to him. 112′ WIDE! The delivery from Jordan Ayew is cleared behind for another corner. Again Cote d’Ivoire deal with it, but Atsu latches onto the clearance from 25 yards out. He tries to bounce a half-volley towards goal, but sends it wide at the near post. 110′ IT’S ALL OPENING UP NOW! Jordan Ayew has provided a real spark since coming on and he creates yet another chance for his side as he bursts into the area. Kolo Toure does well to stay with him and shows his experience, sliding in to send the ball behind for a corner. 109′ SO CLOSE! Gervinho finally springs to life, after being disturbingly quiet throughout. He makes a great run into the area and picks out Doumbia in the centre, but the striker cannot turn and get a shot off as his first touch runs safely into the arms of Brimah. 107′ Brilliant pass! Mubarak picks out Gyan, but the striker lacks the pace to get behind the defence. Cote d’Ivoire only partially deal with it and the clearance falls kindly to the midfielder, but his follow-up shot is blocked behind for a corner. 106′ Ghana get the second half underway! Just 15 minutes left for either side to find a winner or we are headed to penalties. 105′ + 1′ Yellow Card E. Bertrand 105′ + 1′ From the left of the penalty area, Mubarak picks out Atsu with his delivery. The winger hits a shot first-time but fails to put it on target as the first half of extra time comes to an end. 105′ Great run from the substitute! Jordan Ayew makes a wonderful run on the left, putting his fresh legs to use, getting in behind Bailly. The defender lunges into a poor tackle and is shown a yellow card. The Black Stars have a real chance here with the ensuing free kick. 104′ Another corner for the Elephants is wasted as the delivery is sent straight into the arms of Brimah. 103′ Cote d’Ivoire seem to be saving their best for last in this first half of extra time, as they manage some good pressure with the break approaching. An ill-advised back-pass by Baba puts Brimah under a ton of pressure, but the keeper does well to clear the danger. 101′ Chances are few and far between in this extra time period as neither side looks capable of mustering up the energy needed to push forward and create. This first half has been limited to long, searching balls forward and ambitious strikes from well out. 99′ SubstitutionKwesi AppiahJordan Ayew 99′ Jordan Ayew is up with his bib off as he looks set to be coming on shortly. He has had a very up and down tournament, but what a great chance this would be for him to write his name in Ghana footballing folklore! 97′ Just offside! Atsu sends a great ball through for Gyan who gets behind the defence into acres of space, but the flag is up as the striker just mistimes his run. 95′ STAT ATTACK: Ivory Coast are making their third appearance in the finals at the Africa Cup of Nations in their last six tries. They lost in both 2006 and 2012 on penalties, while their only success at the tournament in 1992 also came via the shootout. All three matches finished 0-0, as well. 93′ Tired legs are certainly setting in now which could dictate this extra time period as injuries and slips come into effect. The Elephants enjoy a good spell of possession in the final third, but Ghana continue to defend admirably. 91′ Extra time is underway as Cote d’Ivoire kick-off! 90′ The players are laying out on the pitch, huddled around their coaches and receiving treatment as they get set for a tense and dramatic 30 minutes of extra time. Substitutions will surely come into play now. 90′ + 3′ That’s it! The referee sounds his whistle for full time and we are headed to extra time in the final at the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations! 90′ + 2′ Into the second of three minutes of stoppage time here, and fatigue looks like it is setting in. The two sides have accepted the inevitable now it seems and are bracing themselves for another 30 minutes. It is not so much a desire to win, but a fear of losing that has brought us to this point. 90′ GAME-SAVING CLEARANCE! Oh how close that was for the Elephants! Aurier is running rampant on the right and beats his man before driving the ball across goal. Brimah cannot deal with it and Doumbia nearly pounces on the rebound, but Mensah does so well to reach in and clear the danger. 88′ Kanon commits a foul five yards outside the area and is shown a yellow card. The ensuing free kick presents Ghana with a real chance to grab a dramatic winner, but Mubarak’s left-footed effort is deflected behind. The referee does not spot the ricochet, however, and awards Cote d’Ivoire with a goal kick. 87′ Yellow Card W. Kanon 86′ It is far too predictable from both teams, as we continue to await an opener. Certainly a goal from either side would win it now, but no one looks capable of finding it at the moment. In games like these it is hardly a stunning goal that wins it, but a scrappy one, often following a mistake by the defence. 84′ You have to start to wonder when, or if, Avram Grant will show his hand a bit and make a substitution. The Black Stars certainly have plenty of quality on the bench, but perhaps with extra time and maybe even penalties looming, he will continue to hold out. 82′ John Boye is down injured as play is forced to come to a halt. The medical staff is out to attend to him, despite the defender’s best efforts to get up and prevent himself from having to go off temporarily. Mensah is screaming at the trainers to get off the field and is livid as they arrive at the scene. 80′ Magnificent run! Aurier is at it again, beating 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′ 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′ 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′ 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′ 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′ 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′ 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′ SubstitutionMax-Alain GradelSeydou Doumbia 67′ 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′ 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′ 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′ 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′ 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′ Yellow Card Siaka Tiéné 58′ 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′ 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′ 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′ WASTED OPPORTUNITY! Afful sends a sensational ball over the top for Atsu 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′ 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′ 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′ 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′ The referee sounds his whistle and the first half comes to an end after just one minute of stoppage time. 44′ 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′ 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′ GREAT DEFENDING! Gervinho shows excellent skill, quickly changing his pace to beat 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′ 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′ SIDE-NETTING! 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 him stride for stride, forcing the shot wide. 34′ LUCKY! A long, innocent ball played into the area for Gervinho is covered well by Afful. The right-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′ 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′ 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′ 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′ 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′ Wonderful build up play between Bony and Gradel, but the winger just slips at the vital moment as the now Manchester City forward had played a return pass to him at the top of the area, allowing Mensah to clear. 22′ 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′ 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′ 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′ 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′ Yellow Card G. Serey Die 14′ 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′ 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′ Ghana have settled in nicely at the back now, keeping the Elephants out and making some important interceptions. 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′ 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′ 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′ 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′ 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′ 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! Black Stars coach Avram Grant has also opted to make just one change, bringing Asamoah Gyan back into the starting XI after recovering from a hip injury, moving Jordan Ayew to the bench. It is the same starting lineup Ghana used in their 3-0 victory over Guinea in the quarter-finals. The in-form Andre Ayew will have his hands full on the flank as he will be tasked with generating offense as well as providing much needed support to Rahman Baba as he is asked to defend Max Gradel and Serge Aurier. Herve Renard has opted for just one change to the starting XI which faced DR Congo in the semi-finals, bringing Boubacar Barry back into goal in place of the injured Sylvain Gbohouo. Everything else remains the same for the Elephants, who will continue to rely on the expertise of midfielder Yaya Toure and the lethal strike partnership between Wilfried Bony and Gervinho. GHANA SUBS: Gyimah, Awal, Agyemang-Badu, J. Ayew, Sowah, Rabiu, Asante, Otoo, Dauda, Amartey, Accam, Acheampong. COTE D’IVOIRE SUBS: Viera, Assale, Doukoure, Doumbia, Kalou, Tallo, Akpa Akpro, Diomande, Traore, Sayouba. GHANA (4-4-2): Brimah; Afful, Boye, Mensah, Baba; Atsu, Acquah, Mubarak, A. Ayew; Gyan, Appiah. COTE D’IVOIRE (4-4-2): Barry; Aurier, Bailly, K. Toure, Kanon; Gradel, Serey Die, Yaya Toure, Tiene; Bony, Gervinho. Ghana will look at tonight as a chance to cap off a splendid period for their national team, while Cote d’Ivoire will hope to exact revenge on the nation that stole the limelight from under them. Here is the confirmed team news: The similarities between Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire are eerily similar. Both teams made their first World Cup appearance in 2006, only the Black Stars hardly warranted the same amount of attention – or at least it started that way. Ghana worked hard to earn their reputation as African powerhouses, performing arguably how their counterparts should have. They reached the knockout stage at the 2006 World Cup and followed it up with a quarter-final appearance in 2010, all the while reaching four consecutive semi-final berths at the Africa Cup of Nations. Like the Elephants, however, Ghana have been waiting since 1982 to lift the trophy again and will fancy their chances to end a 33 year drought on this beautiful night in Bata. Cote d’Ivoire have been touted for glory ever since their first World Cup appearance in 2006. The Elephants have produced plenty of top talents who have enjoyed success at the club level for a number of years now, but the national team has yet to live up the hype and expectations, exiting the World Cup in the group stage three times running. It has been a long wait, since 1992 to be precise, since they last won the Africa Cup of Nations, but today is their chance. And how ironic would it be if they finally lifted the trophy in their first tournament without arguably the best player to ever come out of the country in Didier Drogba?