Ivory Coast edge past Ghana on penalties in Under-23 Afcon

Samuel Obieng sent a cross that found Yeboah whose shot was too strong for the Ivoirian keeper to stop.

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Ivory Coast needed a penalty shootout to defeat Ghana 3-2 after a 2-2 draw in the regular time of the Under-23 Africa Cup of Nations semifinal at the Cairo International Stadium on Tuesday evening.

Their win helped secure their place in Friday’s final and grab the first automatic ticket in next year’s Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

After a 2-2 draw in regular time, there was no change to the scoreline in extra time as the game was decided by penalties. Ivoirian goalkeeper Eliezer Tape saved three of Ghana’s kicks to send his side into next year’s Olympics for the second time in their history.

Youssouf Dao took the lead for the Ivoirians after 13 minutes, linking well to Hamid Traore’s pass that sent him in a clear scoring position. A lead that lasted till halftime.

Six minutes after the break, Yaw Yeboah restored parity for the Black Meteors. Samuel Obieng sent a cross that found Yeboah whose shot was too strong for the Ivoirian keeper to stop.

Dao thought he had won the game for Ivory Coast when he completed his brace six minutes from time with a diving header from Silas Gnaka’s cross.

But deep into the injury time, Evans Mensah received Ouswo Kwabena’s cross to score from close range and send the game to the extra time. Neither side could add to their tally as the game headed to penalties.

In the shootout, Eliezer Tape was the hero for the Ivoirians, stopping three spot-kicks as Les Elephants prevailed 3-2 to reach the final and next year’s Olympics in the process. Ghana will have a second chance when they play in the third-place play-offs on Friday.

Hosts Egypt takes on South Africa in the second semifinal later at the same venue.

In partnership with ANA and Sports Leo

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