General News of Thursday, 5 February 2015
90′ + 3′
The final whistle goes. Worth it.
90′ + 2′
Equatorial Guinea commendably try to press the ball as both sets of player try to re-adjust to just over half an hour spent standing in a circle. This is such a shambles.
Here we go again, finally. The match clock has been pro-rated to the 90th minute with three extra minutes of stoppage time thanks to some unknown formula.
This is a farce to end all farces. There’s been reports of tear gas released by the police and as a result, we’re still waiting for the restart.
We’re set for the restart. Only at the AFCON.
The players are instructed to stay on the pitch for their own safety as large numbers of fans are escorted through the tunnel.
Unconfirmed reports that sections of the Equatorial Guinea fans are waiting at the exit of the stadium to ambush the Ghana supporters. Police are now trying to escort the Ghana fans through the players’ tunnel.
The stadium is now half-empty and I really think that the match won’t continue.
The helicopter is apparently in pursuit of the fans that started all the trouble. Insane.
Large amounts of the fans have left the ground for good. Things look to have calmed down a bit – a freaking chopper over the ground is a good bet to put the fear of god into miscreants.
A helicopter has emerged over the night horizon and has captured the attention of everyone. Not sure what the plan is with the bird but it’s never a good sign.
The players continue to stand around on the pitch as the situation shows no sign of resolving itself any time soon. This stadium is still set to play host to the third-place playoff between DR Congo and an opponent that will almost certainly be Equatorial Guinea.
If the officials decide to abandon the match, the general procedure is to award a 3-0 win against the aggressors. That matches the current scoreline anyway, so that could be weighing on the mind referee and his assistants.
Now security is needed to surround the officials in the centre of the field, out of the firing range of missiles from the stands. The conclusion of this game is up in the air at the moment.
Missiles continue to rain down from the stands. The running track around the ground is littered with bottles and other pieces of hand-held debris. We can only hope that this does not get out of hand.
For their own safety, the Ghanaian supporters continue to congregate pitch side. The match officials huddle to make a decision, and I really don’t hope that we have to abandon the match.
Problems here as a swath of supporters make their way to the area behind the Equatorial Guinea goal. It looks like the Ghana fans, and it may be because things in the stands made it unsafe for them to stay in their designated area. Not surprising, given the terrible behavior by sections of the host nations’ support this evening.
The only player from Equatorial Guinea that I can offer any genuine praise to is Mbele. He’s made some important covering challenges and generally shown great bravery, even when those among him have lost their common sense.
SubstitutionAndré Ayew Frank Acheampong
Belima’s cross sails over the head of Balboa, and Doualla attacks the bouncing ball at the top of the box. Visions of Yaya Toure flash through my mind, but this one flies well off the mark.
The biggest disappointment for me has been Balboa. He’s probably been the best player in the tournament before a ball was kicked tonight, but we’ve seen none of the speed, none of the invention and none of the set-piece mastery that characterized his earlier displays.
Like-for-like change here from Grant, who withdraws the goalscorer Wakaso and introduces Udinese’s Badu, who will provide more fresh legs and muscle in midfield to close out this game.
SubstitutionIban Salvador edu Sipo
It’s increasingly looking like a heavyweight battle to be played in the final between Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire. Equatorial Guinea go a small way to halting that inevitability with a dangerous Balboa centre that Razak needs to shepherd away from danger.
A few more items, mostly bottles, rain down from the stands. This is not pretty and Equatorial Guinea should face some sanctions after the game, especially given their status as tournament hosts.
This has been a professional second-half performance from Ghana, who have picked their moments to attack excellently. The National Thunder seem more concerned with trying to get players sent off than putting goals on the board.
Yellow CardAfriyie Acquah
Yellow CardAndré Ayew
Atsu has really been a creative force in the second half, finding space to tease a low cross that needs an intervention from Mbele to prevent Appiah from making a connection.
It’s just not happening for Equatorial Guinea. Ghana look far more likely to kill off this game with a third than the host nation do to pulling one back. Cote d’Ivoire awaits the winner of this game.
SubstitutionDani Evuy Raul Fabiani
The chances continue to fall for Ghana to end this game as a contest. Atsu plays Appiah in behind the defence for the second time in this game, but this time, Ovono stands his ground to block the striker’s finish.
ANDRE AYEW MISSES THE TARGET! From a dead ball, the Black Stars work the ball into the six-yard area, where Andre Ayew is waiting! He’s normally one of the best sub-six-foot players I’ve seen in the air, but he plants a free header wide of the target!
WASTED COUNTER! Iban Edu’s laughable corner breaks down and sparks Ghana on the break. The buildup looks like a replay of the second goal, but the final ball from Atsu is poor and Ovono can gather.
How will Ghana approach this half? With a two-goal lead surely a priority will be shutting down the pace of the Equatorial Guinea front-line players. The Black Stars may continue playing on the counter, especially given how well that worked for them in the first half to set up the second goal.
There were reports during half-time about objects being thrown onto the pitch and now we have proof that it wasn’t just hearsay. The referee has to stop the game as some items make it onto the field from the stands. Poor from the fans, despite whatever injustice they may feel.
Here we go again!
Ghana show their quality right at the end of the half to leave Equatorial Guinea needing another fairytale to progress. A Jordan Ayew penalty and a Wakaso finish on the counter have put the Black Stars in pole position to reach the final. Despite being on top for large periods of the first half, Avram Grant’s men now have a mountain to climb. Plenty to look forward to in the second half. Stay tuned.
45′ + 1′
45′ + 1′
GHANA HAVE A SECOND! From a broken-down Equatorial Guinea corner, the Black Stars break! Atsu sprints into space inside the opposition half and has Mubarak free on the right. He receives the pass, steps inside his marker and drills a finish home!
45′ + 1′
GHANA HAVE A SECOND!
Yellow CardHarrison Afful
Penalty GoalJordan Ayew
Yellow CardDani Evuy
The whistle goes just as Nsue angles an acrobatic effort straight at Razak. I’m not quite sure what the referee saw wrong in that play but since the keeper saved it anyway, it’s really a moot point.
First attack of note from Ghana in a while as Wakaso takes control of a pass from Afful in a central area, and sweeps an effort at goal, but it’s about two feet wide of the target. Ovono looked to have it covered in any case.
Ghana are being beaten to every single 50-50 out there. This is forcing them into some rushed offensive decisions, with their defenders hoisting a few hopeful balls up from the back that predictably go nowhere.
So much live-wire pace in the Equatorial Guinea front line. Balboa, Iban Edu and Nsue are all quick off the mark, while Kike has also provided some industry down the right.
EQUATORIAL GUINEA FURY! Ghana play themselves into trouble as Mubarak sells himself short with a poor first touch. Iban Edu races in to pick his pocket, but the referee unfairly whistles for the foul! That was an excellent tackle and Mubarak is a lucky boy to be bailed out by the whistle.
Ovono is never slow in coming off his line, and he needs to do so to meet Atsu at the edge of the area, who was primed to run onto an Appiah pass. Good decision again from the Equatorial Guinea keeper.
Balboa flights a free kick towards the near post which is agonizingly just too far ahead of Nsue, who was primed to attack it inside the area. With Balboa in the side, the National Thunder will always threaten from set pieces.
Ghana’s attacking has looked a little disjointed recently, with a few offsides leaving Grant frustrated on the touchline. Equatorial Guinea have had the better of the opening exchanges.
Kike tries to con the referee into giving up a free kick on the edge of the box, but there’s no charity from the official. A great back-and-forth tempo developing to the match here!
On the very next play, Andre Ayew is freed down the left side of the box, but he can’t squeeze his shot past the intimidating figure of Mbele. What a great recovery challenge by the defender!
BIG CHANCE! Kike races down the right and hooks a dangerous cross that sees Nsue slip while trying to make contact. The ball breaks for Balboa inside the area, but his acrobatic half-volley is well off the mark.
The National Thunder are then on the attack through Belima, but despite advancing into a good position down the left, he produces something which is neither a shot nor a cross, and goes off target.
Ghana need to improve on their set-piece deliveries as they’ve been awarded a fair number of free kicks in the opening minutes. Equatorial Guinea have been too comfortable in those scenarios.
Incredible atmosphere to start here at the Nuevo Estadio de Malabo. Ovono already has to show command of his area to punch away a free kick that was lifted towards a Ghana head.
Here we go!
Esteban Becker makes three changes from his side’s quarter-final win over Tunisia. Raul Fabiani was hugely ineffective in that game and has been replaced by potential wild card Iban Salvador up front. Randy also sits out as Belima takes his place, while Dani Evuy has come in for Sipo.
There’s only one change for Ghana but it’s an enforced one. Despite a last-minute scramble to recover, Asamoah Gyan’s hip injury has indeed ruled him out of this game, with Jordan Ayew coming on in his place. Kwesi Appiah will lead the line for the Black Stars.
Equatorial Guinea (4-4-2): Ovono; Evuy, Mbele, Rui, Belima; Seno, Zarandona, Doualla, Balboa; Salvador, Nsue.
Ghana (4-2-3-1): Brimah; Afful, Boye, Mensah, Baba; Acquah, Mubarak; Atsu, Jordan Ayew, Andre Ayew; Appiah.
Today marks the first-ever meeting between these two countries, who are separated by 700 miles of the Gulf of Guinea. Tonight’s clash at the Nuevo Estadio de Malabo is the first time that the tournament hosts have played at this ground in this edition of the AFCON, although Ghana are familiar with these surroundings having beaten Guinea here four days ago.
Four-time winners Ghana went through no such troubles to book their place in the final four. The Black Stars comfortably dispatched Guinea 3-0, and are looking to reach ther first AFCON showpiece since 2010. Ghana have made the semi-finals 12 times – including each of the last four editions – but have not lifted the trophy since 1982.
Equatorial Guinea have reached these lofty heights for the first time in their history. The tournament hosts are here thanks to an unforgettably controversial quarter-final against Tunisia, which saw referee Rajindraparsad Seechurn banned for six months after a slew of baffling decisions – including the stoppage-time penalty for Equatorial Guinea that sent the tie into extra time.
Hello and welcome to our live coverage of the AFCON semi-final battle between Ghana and Equatorial Guinea. A clash against Cote d’Ivoire awaits the victor. I’m Keeghann Sinanan, your guide for all the action.