African Cup of Nations - Zambia shock Ghana

Wed, 08 Feb 18:40:00 2012

Ghana paid the penalty as Asamoah Gyan saw a spot kick saved before Zambia scored with their only attack of the second half in a surprise 1-0 win in their African Cup of Nations semi-final in a sodden Bata.

Emmanuel Mayuka - 0

Zambia substitute Emmanuel Mayuka completed a smash-and-grab victory for the underdogs as he tucked the ball beyond Ghana keeper Adam Kwarasey from 22 yards out on 79 minutes to complete a miserable day for the 2010 World Cup quarter-finalists.

It could have been all very different for Ghana if Gyan had tucked away his penalty kick after Davis Nkausu had taken out Kwadwo Asamoah with a late challenge in the box on eight minutes.

Mweene dived to his left to complete a fine stop. Ghana huffed and puffed, but could not blow Zambia's house down with Mayuka's goal enough to provide Zambia's gateway to the final on Sunday where they will bid for a first win in the African Cup of Nations final.

They were losing finalists in 1974 in Egypt and in Tunisia in 1994, but will hope to go one better in Gabon and Equatorial Guinea.

Derek Boateng was red carded after picking up a second yellow card in the final 10 minutes, but the writing was already on the wall for Ghana by that stage.

Zambia will return to the Gabon capital of Libreville for the final 19 years after their national squad was tragically wiped out when a plane crashed heading towards Dakar for a World Cup qualifier with Senegal in 1993. All 25 passengers died on the flight.

Under swish coach Herve Renard - who prowled the touchline in the rain with jeans and a white shirt - they are certainly physically strong enough to provide a stern test for Ivory Coast or Mali in the final.

Mweene did his bit to upset the odds as he saved from Gyan on nine minutes before doing likewise to deprive Jordan Ayew of a goal on 49 minutes.

Jordan Ayew should have scored for Ghana when he popped up unmarked on 32 minutes, but fresh aired his volley from Andre Ayew's flighted free-kick.

Zambia also had their opportunities. None better than Christopher Katongo's chance on 33 minutes as he burst into the Ghana box, but sliced his shot wide from 10 yards out.

Ghana continued to be wasteful despite enjoying the bulk of possession as John Boye headed over on 51 minutes while Gyan dragged a shot at goal on 65 minutes but Mweene stood tall to make a solid stop.

Mweene missed a high ball from Samuel Inkoom's cross on 69 minutes, but Gyan ended up nodding wide before Mayuka's goal heralded the end of Ghana's bid to win the trophy for the first time since 1982.


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