Ivory Coast has evidently managed to lift their supposed ‘curse’ by beating Ghana to be crowned the 2015 Afcon champions.
Their win came about after a dramatic penalty shootout with Goalkeeper Boubacar Barry saving and scoring the crucial spot-kicks that handed Ivory Coast a win over Ghana. Barry, who appeared to cramp up during the shootout, denied fellow keeper Brimah Razak – one of five efforts missed – before slotting in the winner.
It had looked like the Black Stars might end their 33-year wait for a fifth Cup of Nations title when Ivory Coast missed their first two spot-kicks but Afriyie Acquah and Frank Acheampong failed with their efforts for Ghana and the sides were back on level terms.
Despite the drama of the penalty shootout, the match which preceded it was of a dismally low quality. The Ivorians were first to threaten when Yaya Toure fired a free kick over the bar after his new Manchester City teammate Wilfried Bony had been brought down on the edge of the box. Christian Atsu struck the post with an effort from around 25 yards for Ghana.
The big names – Ivory Coast’s Yaya Toure and Bony, and Ghana’s Ayew and Asamoah Gyan – failed to have a decisive influence on a game that never really flowed.
Ivory Coast’s only other Africa Cup of Nations success was in 1992, when they also played Ghana in the final and beat them on penalties.