Ghana send hosts packing, set-up dream final

Ghana send hosts packing, set-up dream final
Jordan Ayew of Ghana (c) celebrates his goal Kwesi Appiah (l) and Afriyie Acquah (r) join in during the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations semifinal football match between Ghana and Equatorial Guinea

by Graeme Jackson

Thursday Feb 05, 2015. 23:23

Ghana have set up a dream Africa Cup of Nations final against fellow West African powerhouses Ivory Coast after a 3-0 win over hosts Equatorial Guinea in Malabo on Thursday night.

The second semifinal, played at Nuevo Estadio de Malabo, saw the Black Stars outclass Nzalang Nacional thanks to goals from the Ayew brothers and Mubarak Wakaso. In what was otherwise a fractious and frustrating match, Ghana showed their undoubted class at the key moments to earn a deserved victory.

There was little action of note for most of the first half, with neither side really able to get out of second gear. It certainly didn’t match the quality or excitement of Wednesday’s first semifinal between Ivory Coast and DR Congo.

However, the match was finally shocked into life when Ghana were awarded a debatable penalty a few minutes before the break after Felipe Ovono was adjudged to have fouled Kwesi Appiah in the 18-yard area. Jordan Ayew coolly converted the spot kick to open the scoring.

And before Equatorial Guinea had a chance to recover from suffering that first body-blow, they were hit with a knockout punch in injury time at the end of the first half, as the Black Stars broke away from a corner kick on a sweeping counter attack which ended with Mubarak Wakaso firing home to make it 2-0.

The home crowd showed their displeasure with proceedings when they threw missiles onto the pitch early in the second half, but Ghana continued to boss proceedings and should have added to their advantage with chances for Andre Ayew and Kwesi Appiah around the hour mark.

Andre Ayew killed off any slim hopes Nzalang Nacional had of a comeback when he turned home the third goal in the 75th minute, capitalising on some good work by the hard-running Appiah.

There was a prolonged delay with less than 10 minutes to play when a large contingent of Ghanaian supporters moved down out of the stands to place themselves behind the goal their side was attacking in the second half, due to missile throwing aimed at them from home supporters. The match was eventually restarted and completed without further incident.

Equatorial Guinea will now take on DRC in the third-place playoff on Saturday evening in Malabo, while Ghana will face the Elephants of Ivory Coast in the final on Sunday evening in Bata.

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