General News of Sunday, 8 February 2015
Source: Ismail Akwei | GhanaWeb
26 mins 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 mins Wonderful build up play between Bony and Gradel, but the winger just slips at the vital moment as the now Manchest City forward had played a return pass to him at the top of the area, allowing Mensah to clear.
22 mins 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 mins 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 mins 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 mins 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 mins Yellow Card G. Serey Die
14 mins 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 mins 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 mins Ghana have settled in nicely at the back now, keeping the Elephants out and making some important interceptions at the back. 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 mins 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 min 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 mins 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 min 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 min 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!
Live commentary courtesy goal.com
Ghana faces Cote d’Ivoire in the final of the Africa Cup of Nations Equatorial Guinea 2015 at the Bata Stadium in Bata, Equatorial Guinea.
This game is predicted to be one of the most difficult finals of the continental competition as the Black Stars have not won the tournament in 33 years while the Ivorians have also not won it in 23 years.
The two teams’ only meeting in this competition’s final produced a goalless draw stalemate in 1992, which was won 11-10 on penalties by the Elephants.
The last time these sides met was in 2010 during the AFCON, which Côte d’Ivoire won 3-1 at the group stage.
The Elephants have reached their third AFCON final in the last six editions.
They lost the 2006 and 2012 finals on penalties while the Black Stars have won this continental showpiece on 4 occasions and became the first nation to win the trophy for keeps, but have failed to win the title since they last won it in 1982.
The starting line-up for Cote d’Ivoire: B. Barry, W. Kanon, S. Tiéné, E. Bertrand, K. Touré, S. Aurier, Y. Touré, G. Serey Die, W. Bony, Y. Gervinho, M. Gradel.
The starting line-up for Ghana: R. Brimah, H. Afful, J. Boye, J. Mensah, A. Baba, A. Acquah, W. Mubarak, A. Gyan, C. Atsu, A. Ayew, K. Appiah.