Africa Cup of Nations final: Ivory Coast crowned champs after 11-round shootout

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It may have taken 120 minutes and then some more, but Ivory Coast has won the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations.

No goals were scored during regulation or extra time, leaving it all on the line in the penalty shootout.

Bad memories arose for Ivory Coast, as the Elephants had lost their previous two trips to the AFCON finals in penalty kicks.

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But it was backup goalkeeper Boubacar Barry who was the hero, making a save on Ghana’s Brimah Razak before burying the game-winning penalty himself.

It is Ivory Coast’s second AFCON title, their first coming in 1992, a match in which they also defeated Ghana in penalties.

Both sides played cautiously in the first half, feeling out the opposition in a 45 minutes that didn’t see too many chances. Everton’s Christian Atsu nearly gave Ghana the lead in the 25th minute, firing a shot past Barry only to be rejected by the woodwork.

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Atsu was the most dangerous man on the pitch for Ghana, using his speed to make runs down the flanks for the Black Stars. Gervinho and Wilfried Bony played well off of each other in the Ivory Coast attack, but neither side was able to find the back of the net after 120 minutes.

The pressure was on Boubacar Barry for Ivory Coast, as he was replacing injured starter Sylvain Gbohouo in net for the Elephants. After star striker Bony missed his penalty kick off the crossbar, it seemed Ivory Coast was destined for another heartbreaking defeat in the AFCON finals.

With Ghana leading the shootout 2-0, Barry made a save on Afriyie Acquah before Frank Acheampong missed wide. With the score then knotted at two, Ivory Coast buried eight straight penalties, trading goals with Ghana.

After all the field players had taken shots, it came down to a goalkeeper battle between Boubacar Barry and Brimah Razak. Razak stepped up first for Ghana only to see Barry come up with a massive diving stop, putting the title hopes of a nation on his back.

Barry went down with an apparent cramp after making the save on Razak, worrying the Ivorian fans that he may have trouble taking his penalty. But the backup showed no signs of injury, or nerves, when he slotted home his penalty into the side netting as Ivory Coast were crowned champions of Africa.