AFCON U23: Ghana lose on penalties to Ivory Coast
The Black Meteors will have to settle for a third place playoff match to fancy their chances of making it to the Olympics after losing on penalties to Cote d’ Ivoire.
After a nerve-wracking 120minutes, the tie had to be decided on penalty shootouts.
Yousouf Dao scored on 13minutes after the Ghana defense were caught sleeping allowing Dao entry into the box to slot past Kwame Baah in post for Ghana.
Ghana were let off the hook in the 21st minute after Dao missed a huge opportunity to put Ivory Coast two goals up following a nice cutback from the right.
Kwame Baah was tested one more time by the Ivorians with a long range effort but was quick to react to keep Ghana in the game.
Coach Ibrahim Tanko made a quick substitution by introducing Kwabena Owusu for Robin Polley after just 27 minutes.
Ivory Coast created the opportunities ensuring Ghana lived dangerously in the game as they nearly won themselves a penalty when goalkeeper Kwame Baah looked to have had a late touch on an Ivorian player in the box, only for the referee to wave play on.
Kwabena Owusu was played through by Yaw Yeboah but the Córdoba attacker went for glory as he shot wide despite having an option to set up Samuel Obeng who was in advantageous position.
Yaw Yeboah drew Ghana level 5minutes into the second half after receiving a cross from Samuel Obeng to smash home from close range.
Ivory Coast winger Dakoure missed another good chance after heading wide having been caught up with a cross from the back post.
Yousouf Dao seemed to have scored the all-important goal for Cote d’ Ivoire after heading home a cross from the left with 5minutes left to play.
However Ghana got back on level terms with a stunning strike from Evans Mensah after the referee waved off a penalty shout on Kwabena Owusu in the box to push the game into extra time.
Both teams however put up a spirited performance in the 30minutes of extra time forcing the game into penalty shootouts.
However Nicholas Kodjo, Evans Mensah and Kwabena Owusu all missed their kicks.
Ghana still have an opportunity to win the third place playoffs for a place at the Olympic games.
By Frank Darkwah