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Coate d'Ivoire wins African Nations Cup on penalties

Updated: 2015-02-09 10:22

Coate d'Ivoire wins African Nations Cup on penalties

A fan of Coate d'Ivoire soccer team watches a telecast of their team's African Nations Cup final against Ghana on a big screen on a street of Abidjan February 8, 2015. [Photo/Agencies]


Two hours of action delivered few chances as the tired-looking teams fought out an error-strewn midfield battle, although Ghana's Christian Atsu came close to scoring with a snapshot that hit the post after 26 minutes.

Yaya Toure had the game's first effort on goal after 10 minutes but his free kick went straight into Brimah's arms. Gervinho fed Max Gradel with a clear chance on the right of the attack soon after but he blasted a hurried shot wide.

Ghana's first effort was inches away from a goal as Andre Ayew weaved across the penalty box before feeding Atsu, whose first time shot hit the upright before bouncing back into play.

An Ivorian mistake gave Ghana the first chance of the second half with Atsu speeding away before passing inside to Asamoah Gyan, who was off target with his effort.

Gyan had been doubtful for the final with a pelvic injury but passed a late fitness test.

Mubarak Wakaso blasted over the top with a strong effort from well outside the penalty area midway through the second half as the midfield stranglehold kept chances to a minimum.

However, Atsu's strong running down the right tested the Ivorian defence again when he provided Gyan without another chance after 72 minutes but it was blocked.

As the game approached 90 minutes a scramble in the Ghana penalty area, after Brimah could only parry the ball, gave Ivorian substitute Seydou Doumbia a half-chance but he too was thwarted by a quick defensive recovery.

Doumbia missed another half-chance at the start of the second half of extra time when striker Gervinho found a second wind and the game had to go to penalties to separate the teams.

Ghana's agonising shootout defeat means they are still waiting for their first Nations Cup success since 1982.

"But I think we can be very proud of what we did at this tournament with you guys giving us no chance," Ghana coach Avram Grant told reporters. "We have a team for the future here."

Morocco were stripped of the tournament having asked for a postponement amid concerns over the spread of the Ebola virus and have been banned from the next two African Nations Cups.

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