Zambia, Ivory Coast for Nations Cup final
Ivory Coast players celebrate
ZAMBIA and The Ivory Coast have qualified for the final of the 28th Africa Nations Cup slated for Sunday in Libreville, Gabon.
The Copper Bullets beat highly-fancied Ghana 1-0 in the first semi final played in Bata, Equatorial Guinea while the Elephants of Ivory Coast outscored Mali by a lone goal in the second semi-final decided in Libreville.
Zambia thus qualified for its second Nations Cup final game in 18 years.
In 1994, Zambia lost the final game to Nigeria’s Super Eagles by 2-1 in Tunisia while The Ivory Coast will be gunning for its second Nations Cup glory having won the 1992 edition in Senegal at the expense of Ghana’s Black Stars.
Zambia’s second-half substitute, Emmanuel Mayuka scored in the 78th minute to punish Ghana for missing an early penalty.
Striker Asamoah Gyan’s eighth-minute spot kick was saved by goalkeeper Kennedy Mweene.
Gyan’s penalty failure echoed his miss from the spot in the World Cup quarterfinal against Uruguay two years ago.
Ghana’s Derek Boateng was shown a late red card as his team sank to defeat.
The Black Stars of Ghana dominated possession and had a string of chances, but could find no way past the Zambia defence.
Meanwhile, Arsenal’s Gervinho scored Ivorien’s first goal when he raced past the entire Malien defence in the 45th minute to slot the ball into Mali’s far angle.
Before then, both Didier Drogba, in the 6th minute and African Footballer Of The Year, Yaya Toure , in the 16th minute, had rocked the Malien cross bar while Salomon Kalou sidenet-ted a solo effort in the 21st minute.