Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : February 8th 2015 Contents A51
February 8, 2015 www.guardian.co.tt Sunday Guardian
GUINEA---Congo beat host
Equatorial Guinea 4-2 in a
penalty shootout yesterday
after the third place game at
the African Cup of Nations
ended 0-0 after 90 minutes.
Javier Balboa and Raul Fabi-
ani missed Equatorial Guinea s
first two spot-kicks. Cedric
Mongongu sealed victory for
the Congolese, sending his
penalty into the top right cor-
The teams were goalless
after a lackluster contest at a
half-empty Malabo Stadium.
The third place game at the
African Cup skips extra time
and goes straight to penalties.
It capped a fairly miserable
week for Equatorial Guinea,
which lost 3-0 to Ghana in
the semifinals at the same
stadium in Malabo and was
fined $100,000 for the fan
violence that marred that
The shootout was the first
so far at the African Cup.
Ivory Coast plays Ghana in
the final on Sunday.
Few Equatorial Guinea fans
turned up on Saturday, with
swathes of empty seats across
Congo and Equatorial
Guinea struggled to create any
major excitement for the
spectators who did come.
Congo s Yannick Bolasie
had maybe the best chance of
the game late in the first half
when he controlled a long
diagonal pass and, bearing
down on the goalkeeper, sliced
his shot wide of the right
Balboa was a hero for Equa-
torial Guinea with a last-
minute penalty in the win
over Tunisia in the quarter-
But he missed the first
penalty of the shootout, push-
ing it high and to the right.
Fabiani had his penalty saved
by veteran Congo keeper
The Congolese converted
all theirs with Mongongu
making sure of victory. It was
Congo s best result at an
African Cup since finishing
third in 1998.
Equatorial Guinea made the
last four for the first time in
its history. (AP)
BATA, EQUATORIAL GUINEA---The
African Cup of Nations probably got
the final it wanted.
Star-studded Ivory Coast and Ghana,
Africa s most recent World Cup quar-
terfinalist, meet today in the decider
in Equatorial Guinea.
There will be plenty of Europe-based
talent on display, with Yaya Toure,
Gervinho and Wilfried Bony for Ivory
Coast going up against Ghana s Andre
Ayew, Christian Atsu and---if he recovers
from injury---Asamoah Gyan.
Here s what you need to know ahead
of the African Cup final:
A long, long wait
For one of the West African soccer
powers, a long and painful wait will
come to an end. For the other, the agony
will be extended for at least two years.
Ivory Coast, blessed recently with
some of Africa s top soccer talent, hasn t
won the Cup of Nations since its only
title in 1992, when it beat Ghana in a
penalty shootout. Ghana s wait has
been even longer, with the last of its
four triumphs over 30 years ago.
The Ivorians have lost two finals in
the last six tournaments, one of them
when current coach Herve Renard led
underdog Zambia to an unexpected tri-
umph in 2012. Now leading Ivory Coast,
Renard said the title drought should
come to an end this weekend.
"In my opinion, it s now time,"
Renard said Saturday. "But we ll see
tomorrow if I m right."
Although talisman and former skip-
per Didier Drogba has retired from
internationals, Ivory Coast s lineup is
still impressive. Manchester City mid-
fielder Toure and Roma forward Gerv-
inho both scored in the 3-1 win over
Congo in the semifinals. Bony is one
of the hottest strikers in Europe at the
Ghana has top players of its own.
Midfielder Ayew is highly rated and
Chelsea s Atsu scored a wonder goal in
the quarterfinals against Guinea. Gyan
is doubtful for the final, though, where
Ghana is the obvious underdog.
"We faced a lot of challenges and
this is another challenge," Ghana coach
Avram Grant said. "This is the last one."
Former Chelsea coach Grant could
have immediate success with Ghana
after taking over on December 1. Grant
had little time to prepare the squad,
and said he spent a lot of time watching
videos to catch up.
"It was not easy in a very short time,"
the Israeli said. "I slept maybe two
hours a day." Three years ago, French-
man Renard was giving Ivory Coast
sleepless nights after his Zambia side,
a huge outsider, beat Drogba, Toure
and Gervinho in the final. Renard is on
the verge of ending the Ivorians misery,
although the country has been here
twice before recently, and come up
short both times. "There is no desper-
ation," Renard said, adding his team
maybe has the psychological advantage
after beating Ghana in 1992.
Both teams and both coaches have
big history when it comes to penalty
shootouts. The shootout has decided
every one of Ivory Coast s three previous
finals. Ghana lost in 92 but won in 82
Grant s Chelsea missed out on club
football s biggest prize when defender
John Terry missed in a shootout in the
2008 Champions League final, and
Grant lost his job days later. Asked how
he was preparing for the possibility of
a shootout on Sunday, Grant replied
jokingly: "I m going to call John Terry
and ask him."
More seriously, he said: "We need
to prepare for any situation that can
win the game."
Equatorial Guinea lost in the semi-
finals. Equatorial Guinea was embar-
rassed by its fans in the semifinal loss
to Ghana, when they threw rocks and
other missiles at opposition supporters,
causing the game to be held up for over
30 minutes as riot police clashed with
the angry fans. Organisers want to be
certain nothing like that happens at
Sunday s big game. (AP)
Congo beats Eq Guinea on
penalties in 3rd place game
Ghana's soccer team players celebrate after their African Cup of Nations
semifinals soccer match with Equatorial Guinea at Estadio De Malabo, Equatorial
Guinea, on Thursday. AP PHOTO
Things to know
African Cup final
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