Date: February 8th, 2015
Venue: Estadio De Bata
City: Bata, Equatorial Guinea
Time: 21:00 (CAT)
Match Result: Ivory Coast 0 – 0 Ghana (Ivory Coast 9 – 8 on Penalties)
Goal Scorers: N/A
The GSV Top Class Award
One of the most anticipated fixtures of the modern era was always going to be a closely contested clash. With two giants of African football up against each other, it came as no surprise that they cancelled each other out as far as goal mouth action was concerned. It was not for the lack of trying, though, as both sides sought to break down each other’s defensive units. At the heart of Ghana’s enterprising attacking play was once again Christian Atsu, who collects the final GSV Top Class Award for the Afcon tournament. With his trickery, shooting prowess and his energy in the attacking third, very few could argue with the decision to give him the Player of the Competition Award, as well as the prestigious GSV Top Class Award. Christian Atsu has sent a strong message to loan club Everton, as well to his parent club Chelsea, who might have a hard time fending off interest in the player. Christian Atsu: Talent. Skill. Class.
The GSV Class Clown Award
Our final GSV Class Clown Award is a somewhat sympathetic one. The lottery of the penalty shootout is never really a fair comparison of two sides, but with Ghana having gone 2 – 0 up in the shootout, some might have expected them to keep cool heads and see their side to the victory. But misses from Acquah and Acheampong let the Ivorians back into the game, increasing the pressure on the black stars, pressure that proved decisive in the end as the Ivorians ran victorious. For that unfortunate lack of composure, the pair of them receive the final GSV Class Clown Award.
The Grand Stand View
In most ways this was a predictable affair. The expectation was that the two sides would be evenly matched in all areas, and that it would be individuals who would make the difference. Both sides created numerous chances, but the inability to break through the respective defences meant the possibility of extra time and penalties was always on the cards. The extra 30 minutes always proves to be a case of which side can carry their tired legs and gather enough energy to create at least one meaningful wave of attack, but neither side was willing to attack and risk leaving holes at the back, so the extra period proved a fruitless one for anxious fans.It’s never easy taking part in a penalty shootout, and it takes a confident player to put his hand up to take a spotkick. The hopes of an entire nation rest on your decision-making and the accuracy of your finishing from 12 yards, and that is pressure not many are naturally wired to deal with. For this reason, we cannot entirely blame the winners of our Class Clown Award, who were part of a Ghana squad that many saw as the better team on the day.
The Ghanaians had an outstanding tournament, as is evident by the individual awards that Christian Atsu, Andre Ayew and Kwesi Appiah were able to secure, but sadly that was not enough to bring the trophy back to Accra. The Ivory Coast will reflect on this as not the greatest standard of their football to date, but will be relieved that many of their seniors, whose time on the international stage may be drawing to a close, can hang their boots up with a trophy to talk about. While some might be sad that the triumph couldn’t happen during Didier Drogba’s era, the Ivorian FA will be patting themselves on the back for the appointment of former Zambian coach Herve Renard, who has now won his second Afcon tournament, becoming the first man to do so with two different countries. For his and the Ivory Coast’s achievement, we extend our GSV Salute to the new Kings of African football.