Les Elephants Raises AFCON Trophy after Epic Penalty Shootout

Posted February 8th, 2015 at 6:34 pm (UTC-4)
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Ivory Coast’s Max Gradel challenges Ghana’s Harrison Afful during the African Nations Cup final match in Bata. (REUTERS)

In the end, it came down to the giants: The Giants of African Football.

Black Stars and Elephants.

Ghana and Cote D’Ivoire.

And in the end, it was goalkeeper Boubacar Barry and the Orange Men of West Africa who outlasted Ghana through 120 minutes to claim triumph on penalties in the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations Sunday, 9-8.

After a tournament that had been tarnished by last minute disorganization, fan violence and accusations of referee malfeasance, Cote D’Ivoire coach Herve Renard led his team to glory and, in a sense, redemption after an embarrassing World Cup showing last summer.

Ivory Coast’s Aurier goes for the ball during the African Nations Cup (AFCON 2015) final match against Ghana in Bata. (REUTERS)

Despite the talents of Yaya Toure and Wilfried Bony, Ivory Coast was held goalless through 120 minutes, which led to the nail-biting grind of penalties. After eight equal penalty goals, Barry then stepped up to score the winning penalty kick, just moments after making a save against Ghana goalkeeper Razak Braimah.

Ghana’s Christian Atsu and Asamoah Gyan topped the Black Stars performance for most of the match, but in the end, failed to find victory.

The last time Les Elephants won the Cup was in 1992.

Mike Eckel
Mike Eckel's dreams of being drafted by Man United or FC Barcelona peaked when he was captain of his high school football team, but ended during his short-lived college career. He continues to be an avid player (midfield) however and holds out hope that Jozy Altidore will get his act together for 2018. When not running VOA's football blogs, he writes about Russia, international war crimes, Central Asia corruption and oversees VOA's multimedia collaboration efforts.

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