Accra, Nov. 19, GNA – The National U-23 side of Cote D’ Ivoire defeated their Ghanaian counterparts 3-2 on penalties to progress to the finals of the U-23 Africa Cup of Nations played at the Cairo International Sports Stadium.
Yaw Yeboah and Evans Mensah scored for the Black Meteors while a brace from Yossouf Dao ensured the game ended 2-2 in regulation time.
The Black Meteors started the game on a front foot with some decent passing as they searched for the early lead.
The Black Meteors were stunned on 13th minute mark as Ivorian striker Yossouf Dao put Young Elephants ahead with calm finish from close range after he was put teed up by Baba Traore.
Dao, should have doubled the lead for the Ivorians on the 20th minutes but shockingly missed from five yards to the relieve of the Ghanaian defence.
The Ivorians established the dominance in every department of the game leaving the Black Meteors on the back foot.
The Ivorians had enough opportunities to kill the game in the first half of the game but Ghana goalkeeper Kwame Baah made some crucial saves to keep the Black Meteors in the game.
The second of the game started with Ghana again on the front foot as they searched for equalizer and deservedly got that through the Captain Yaw Yeboah who bounced Sarpong’s cross into the penalty box and struck home for Ghana.
The Ivorians responded very well after going a goal down as the mounted relentless pressure on the Ghana defence as they look to take the lead again.
The Ghana defence stood resolute as the managed the threat of the Ivorians with the game likely to go into extra-time.
But it was not to be for the Black Meteors when a perfect cross from Silas Gnaka found Dao who headed the Ivorians in to the lead on the 85th minute mark.
The Black Meteors exhibited their “Never Say Die” attitude when they perked back the Ivorians once again with a last gasp strike Evans Mensah after he was step up by Kwabena Owusu.
The game went into extra time with both sides searching for the winner that would take them into the final but they couldn’t as they game had to be decided through penalties.
Emmanuel Cudjoe, Evans Mensah and Kwabena Owusu all missed from the penalty spot while Ishmeal Dialo. Baba Traore, Koffi Kouao scored for the Ivorian side whom have progressed to the finals of the competition and also book a spot in next year’s Olympics.
Ghana would have to win their third place match against South Africa or Egypt to be able to book an Olympic spot.