Orange Africa Cup of Nations – Wednesday 08 February 2012

Zambia (1) – (0) Ghana (Staid de Bata)

Mali (0) – (1) Ivory Coast (Stade d’Angondjé)

Congratulations to Zambia and Ivory Coast. Commiserations to Ghana and Mali. Both games settled in ninety minutes and both by a single goal. However, that doesn’t begin to tell the story of another dramatic night in the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations.

In Bata Zambia and Ghana were the first game of the day. The game hinged around two key moments and an old football adage. The first key moment came on 8 minutes when Ghana were awarded a penalty. Asamoah Gyan took the spot-kick and he went for placement rather than power. Unfortunately for Ghana, Zambian keeper Mweene went the right way and saved with his left hand. After their 2010 World Cup exit on penalties and now this, perhaps The Black Stars are starting to develop the English penalty phobia. The second key moment came on 78 minutes. Emmanuel Mayuka received the ball on the edge of the Ghanaian box with his back to goal, he created some space for himself to turn and although surrounded by white Ghanaian shirts managed to curl in a shot which nestled in the net after clipping the post. To paraphrase David Coleman, “Zambia…one nil”. Finally, the old football adage, “…you have to take your chances…”. Having missed a penalty Ghana did create plenty more opportunities. Certainly Kennedy Mweene had an excellent game in goal for Zambia, but Ghana were wasteful upfront and they paid the price when Mayuka scored the winner for Zambia. The Black Stars wait for another tournament win continues, whilst Zambia keep defying the odds.

With one of the favourites gone, Ivory Coast would have been nervously eyeing their opponents Mali as the game kicked-off. Ivory Coast like Ghana created plenty of chances in the opening half and must have been wondering if they would also suffer the same fate as The Black Stars as a goal eluded them. However, with half-time approaching, Gervinho produced one of the goals of the competition. He collected the ball in his own half and then beat Mali defender Ousmane Berthe. Gervinho then ran the length of the Mali half to cut into the box and calmly finish past Soumaila Diakite. In the second-half The Elephants did what they have done in previous games in this tournament and basically absorbed the threat of the opposition and comfortably held on to their single goal win.

There is a break now until Saturday, when the 3rd/4th place play-off game between Ghana and Mali takes place in Malabo and then Sunday the Final itself, when Ivory Coast take on Zambia. 

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Posted February 8, 2012 by Editor in category "2012 Africa Cup of Nations

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