Goalkeeper Boubacar Barry scored the decisive penalty as Ivory Coast ended a 23-year Africa Cup of Nations title drought by beating Ghana 9-8 in a shootout on Sunday after the final ended 0-0 following extra time, SkySports reports.
History repeated itself as the only other Ivorian title came in 1992 when they edged the Ghanaians, also on penalties after a goalless draw.
Billed as a ‘dream’ final between the west African neighbours, it became the fourth decider in the last eight to finish goalless and be settled by spot-kicks. Ghana captain and star striker Asamoah Gyan passed a late fitness test on his injured hip and returned in place of semi-final scorer Jordan Ayew.
Ivory Coast winger Gervinho threatened twice in the early stages as Ivory Coast were quicker out of the blocks. After 25 minutes, Ghana’s Christian Atsu won possession just outside the box and his swerving shot eluded the diving Barry only to rebound to safety off the post. Ivory Coast were rescued by the woodwork again nine minutes before half-time when Andre Ayew – elder brother of Jordan – hit the other post from an acute angle.
While there were moments of anxiety for both defences, clearcut chances remained elusive and the game drifted into extra-time. Ivory Coast missed their first two penalties through Tallo Gadji and Manchester City’s Wilfried Bony, but Ghana’s Afriyie Acquah was then denied by Barry.
With the scores at 2-1 in the shootout, Frank Acheampong hit wide for Ghana, before both sides went to reach 8-8 with both goalkeepers remaining. Braimah Kamoko stepped up to see his penalty saved by Barry, before Ivory Coast’s man between the sticks brushed himself off to slot home the winning spot kick.