Cote D’Ivoire Wins 2015 AFCON Title On Penalties

Cote D’Ivoire Wins 2015 AFCON Title On Penalties

Cote D’Ivoire defeated Ghana in a penalty shootout 9-8 following a goalless 120 minutes in the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) final on Sunday night in Bata, Equatorial Guinea, allowing the Elephants to lift the trophy and earn the title of African champion.

The final took place following three weeks of continental football involving 16 national teams who had qualified for their chance to be named Africa’s best national team.

Ghana and Cote D’Ivoire began the tournament amongst the favourites to win it, and they did not disappoint, displacing the likes of Algeria, DR Congo and hosts Equatorial Guinea on the way to the ultimate match.

Both teams were lively throughout the first half, with Ghana hitting the post in the 26th minute thanks to a stunning long range strike from Christian Atsu which beat keeper Copa Barry but slammed off the upright. Team-mate Andre Ayew clipped the woodwork again ten minutes later for the Black Stars, who were unlucky not to go ahead at that stage.

The second stanza was more defensive than the first, as both sides began to feel the pressure, and they seemed more concerned with not conceding rather than scoring. The 90 minutes ended goalless, sending the match to extra time.

Much of the same followed in the extra 30 minutes of play, and the match was eventually decided by way of a penalty shootout that reached the sudden death stage, in which Wilfried Bony and Gadji Tallo missed for the Ivorians, while Afriyie Acquah, Frank Acheampong and goalkeeper Razak Brimah could not convert for Ghana, handing the victory to the Elephants for their second ever AFCON title.

Ivorian national team coach Herve Renard becomes the first coach to have won the AFCON with two different teams following his victory in the tournament with Zambia in 2012. Ironically, at the time, he beat Cote D’Ivoire in a penalty shootout in the final.