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Ghana produce six-star performance
Date: 09-Feb-2008       
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The third-place playoff certainly had a touch of finesse and Ghana produced that as the Black Stars beat the Ivory Coast in the six-goal thriller to claim bronze at the African Cup of Nations.

Ghana spurred on by the rhythmic drums and cheers from the noisy Baba Yara Stadium beat Ivory Coast 4-2. The win confirms Ghana’s superiority over their West African neighbours.

Winning was everything that was at stake as both nations sought to maintain their pride after missing out of places in the finals. That was what was left for the taking in this massive game and Ghana produced that, scoring three times in the last 20 minutes.

About five minutes into the start of the game and the Elephants failed to score as Saloman Kalou after picking a great ball from Didier Drogba had his shot saved well by Richard Kingson and, as the ball bounced out, Kalou again failed to connect the rebound.

The ‘people’s finals’ did not disappoint the theatre as Ghana conducting the orchestra, rolled out the opener in the 10th minute from a blistering freekick.

From some 25 yards out, Sulley Muntari struck the ball ferociously with his left-foot to top corner of the goal beating a diving Tiasse Kone.

Ghana were forced to effect their first change of the day as Baffour Gyan came off after with an injury to the hand with his place taken by Quincy Owusu-Abeyie in the 20th minute.

But the Ivorians drew level as Boubacar Sanogo pounced on a through-and hit it low past Richard Kingson for the equalizer in the 24th minute.

Eight minutes later, the Elephants hit the back of the Ghana net when Drogba’s connection to a Siaka Tiene’s cross is saved Kingson with his legs and Boubacar Sanogo was on the spot to tap in from close range to make it 2-1.

And that goal was the 95th, producing a new record as the 2008 African Cup of Nations officially became record-breaker after topping previous total goals record of 93 (set in Burkina Faso in 1998).

However there were some to come in the second period of the game after a continuous action the first half.

Three stunning strikes in 20 minutes

The second half produced three stunning goals from Ghana beginning in the 70th minute to send the goal tally at the Nations Cup to a total of 98.

Quincy Owusu-Abeyie equalised in the 70th minute before goals from Junior Agogo and Haminu Dramani gave the hosts an impressive win.

The Ivorians who dropped the pace of the game to Ghana ceded possession too as the hosts pushed for the equalizer.

Owusu-Abeyie accelerated through the Ivorian defence, avoided the tackles and left his markers behind before slipping the ball under the arms of Kone as the near capacity crowd sparked into wild celebrations.

Agogo continued from there when he followed on to Michael Essien's pass to put Ghana ahead again in the 80th minute.

The theatre appeared to be done but Haminu Draman produced another display after cutting in from the left, ghosted past an Ivorian marker and let go a shot from 25-metres which took a bounce to beat Tiasse Kone in the 84th minute.

Claude Le Roy having completed the rout made two changes as he handed Harrison Afful his Ghana and CAN debut after pulling out Haminu Draman.

Ahmed Barusso also came on for the injured Eric Addo in the closing stages of the game but Ghana still pushed forward against the already condemned Ivory Coast.

Starting team:

Richard Kingson, John Paintsil, Hans Adu-Sarpei, Eric Addo/Ahmed Barusso, John Mensah, Anthony Annan, Haminu Draman/Harrison Afful, Michael Essien, Baffour Gyan/Quincy Owusu-Abeyie, Junior Agogo and Sulley Muntari.

Unused Subs: Sammy Adjei, Asamoah Gyan, Nana Kwasi Asare, Alhassan Illiasu, Bernard Kumordzi, Laryea Kingston, Andre Ayew, Laryea Kingston, Kwadwo Asamoah and Fatau Duada.
Source: Ghanafa.org: Nana Obiri Yeboah

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