2015 Africa Cup of Nations

Yaya Toure, Wilfried Bony to miss Manchester City’s trip to Stoke on Wednesday


After winning the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations trophy with the Ivory Coast on Sunday, Manchester City’s Yaya Toure and Wilfried Bony will not be back in England anytime soon.

Toure, captain of Les Elephants, and City’s new $38 million January signing Bony are traveling back to the Ivory Coast’s capital Abdijan to celebrate their first AFCON title since 1992 as a national holiday has been declared in the west African country.

[ WATCH: Drogba celebrates from his sofa ]

That means both Toure, 31, and Bony, 26, will be missing for the Citizens’ tricky trip to the Britannia Stadium against a Stoke side they lost to at home earlier this season.

Following their dramatic 9-8 penalty shootout win over Ghana on Sunday where goalkeeper Boubacar Barry scored the winning penalty, Bony and Toure both confirmed that they were going to spend time back in their homeland to celebrate the victory before heading back to England to help City claw back the seven-point lead Chelsea have now opened up at the top of the Premier League table.

City drew 1-1 with Hull City on Saturday, and afterwards Manuel Pellegrini confirmed that Toure and Bony would not be risked in the match.

Looking ahead to the future, City can plan to be without Toure during international breaks for the foreseeable future.

“Leaving? Retired? Me? I’m 31, my friend. No, that’s my brother [Kolo],” Toure told reporters. “When you see something, you want to repeat it. But it’s difficult, when you’ve lost it before [in two previous finals]. But now I’m very happy, and I’m going to enjoy it with my friends.”

Since Toure departed for the Africa Cup of Nations in January, Man City have failed to win any of their last four Premier League games and are slowly drifting out of the title race.

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.

[ RELATED: DR Congo beats Equatorial Guinea in penalties ]

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.

[ RELATED: Twenty-two killed in riots at Egyptian soccer match ]

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.

Africa Cup of Nations recap: DR Congo, Equatorial Guinea need penalties in third-place game


The 2014 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) is quickly winding down (the final is Sunday at 2 pm ET) as DR Congo and Equatorial Guinea faced off in Saturday’s third-place game after falling at the hands of Ivory Coast and Ghana, respectively, in this week’s semifinals.

DR Congo defender Gabriel Zakuani called for his team to pull out of the third-place game earlier in the week following the awful scenes of fan violence during Thursday’s second semifinal, but the game went ahead anyway. Less than 4,000 fans were on hand for Saturday’s consolation game, leaving much of the 15,000-seat Nuevo Estadio de Malabo empty.

[ MORE: Ivory Coast, Ghana set to battle for AFCON title ]

There were no issues of poor behavior on Saturday as the game was played without incident.

DR Congo, two-time AFCON winners (1968, 1974), and Equatorial Guinea, who this year reached the semifinals for the first time ever, played to a 0-0 draw through 90 minutes and needed penalty kicks to decide this year’s second runners-up.

Cedric Mongongu converted DR Congo’s fourth penalty effort, following misses on Equatorial Guinea’s first two spot kicks, giving the Leopards their fourth AFCON finish of third place or better (4-2 final).

Ivory Coast and Ghana set to battle for AFCON title

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The final is set for the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations, and it’s a dream matchup for football fans.

Ivory Coast and Ghana will face-off on Sunday, February 8th to determine which team is the best in all of Africa.

When thinking of your powerhouses in African football, Ivory Coast and Ghana are near the top of that list. Both countries have produced players that are stars for their clubs in Europe and both have featured in the previous three World Cups.

[ RELATED: Crowd violence delays match for 30 minutes, Ghana defeats Equatorial Guinea ]

Ghana has won four Africa Cup of Nations titles, but the last of those championships came in 1982. Ivory Coast has won the tournament once before in 1992, when they defeated Ghana in the finals.

Ivory Coast reaches the finals after cruising to a 3-1 win over surprise semifinalist DR Congo, while Ghana handed host nation Equatorial Guinea a 3-0 loss in their final four matchup.

[ RELATED: Ivory Coast cruises into final with 3-1 win over DR Congo ]

Ghana’s semifinal match was marred by crowd violence, which caused a delay of over 30 minutes before play could be resumed. Despite all the events, players looked in good spirits after the match and will be eager to set their focus on the finals.

Below we take a quick look at the two sides as we count down the days to the final. Stay up to date with all your latest Africa Cup of Nations news right here at PST.

FIFA World Ranking:

Ivory Coast: 28
Ghana: 37

2015 AFCON results:

Ivory Coast:
1-1 draw vs. Guinea
1-1 draw vs. Mali
1-0 win vs. Cameroon
3-1 win vs. Algeria
3-1 win vs. DR Congo

1-2 loss vs. Senegal
1-0 win vs. Algeria
2-1 win vs. South Africa
3-0 win vs. Guinea
3-0 win vs. Equatorial Guinea

Premier League players:

Ivory Coast: Kolo Toure (Liverpool), Cheick Tiote (Newcastle United), Yaya Toure (Manchester City), Wilfried Bony (Manchester City)

Ghana: Christian Atsu (Everton), Kwesi Appiah (Crystal Palace)

Player to watch:

Ivory Coast: Gervinho
The Roma striker was shown a red card in Ivory Coast’s opening match, and was suspended for the final two games of the group stage. In his two matches back, the former Arsenal man has scored twice. Gervinho is quick and crafty, and will surely be looking to avenge his missed penalty kick in the 2012 AFCON finals, which Ivory Coast lost to Zambia.

Ghana: Asamoah Gyan
The Black Stars’ captain and all-time leading goalscorer is already one of the greatest African players ever. He has scored at three World Cups and seemingly always finds that clutch goal for his side. Gyan rested an injury during the semifinal match, but expect the skipper to be in full force for the finals.

After crowd violence causes long delay, Ghana defeats Equatorial Guinea 3-0


Ghana defeated Africa Cup of Nations host Equatorial Guinea 3-0 today in a match that few will remember for the football.

The match was suspended with less than ten minutes to play after Ghanaian fans fled to the pitch to escape being hit with bottles and other objects in the stands.

[ RELATED: Ivory Coast into 2015 AFCON finals ]

Bottles and trash were then thrown on the pitch, forcing players from both teams to seek refuge in the center of the field.

Some Equatorial Guinea players tried to get the fans to stop, but to no avail. The Ghanaian players were then led off the pitch under the cover of shields from riot police.

According to Steve Crossman of the BBC World Service in Malabo, tear gas was used to try and subdue the situation.

The Ghana fans are marching out of the stadium – it is a sight to behold. There is a big plume of tear gas – the tear gas is spreading to the middle and up towards the back corner. The supporters are diving for cover. It’s the clear the authorities have moved in with force. One fan has jumped over the wall and landed on an ambulance – that’s a 20 foot drop.”

A helicopter flew over the stadium as fans from both nations were escorted out. After a delay of about 30 minutes, play was surprisingly restarted, despite Ghana being up three goals with under ten minutes to play.

Jordan Ayew had put the Black Stars ahead in the first half when he converted from the penalty spot, and Ghana doubled their lead just before the break when Mubarak Wakaso slotted a left-footed shot home in the 45th minute. Andre Ayew gave Ghana a three goal lead in the 74th, just about ten minutes before the match was suspended. They will face Ivory Coast in the finals.

Players from both teams remained calm throughout the situation, and no violence between players broke out after the restart.

It is terrible to see a match overshadowed by events like this, as the Africa Cup of Nations has run very smoothly so far despite all of their issues leading up to the tournament. Equatorial Guinea could face sanctions from the CAF for their supporters’ actions, something we will likely here more about in the coming days.