The Black Stars of Ghana recorded an emphatic semi-finals victory over hosts Equatorial Guinea to reach the finals of the African Cup of Nations in a match that was largely marred by crowd troubles in Malabo as Equatorial Guinea fans threw missiles onto the pitch.
The reward for Ghana for winning this game is a quality tie against neighbors Ivory Coast in the grande finale on Sunday 8 February in Bata.
Goalkeeper Felipe Ovono brought down Ghana striker Kwesi Appiah in his box in the 42nd minute and Lorient forward Jordan Ayew buried the resulting penalty to grab the lead for the Ghanaians before Christian Atsu set up Mubarak Wakaso to score Ghana’s second in the 45th minute to put the game under full control at half time.
The host were unable to create clear cut chances in the first half but went close on a number of occasions in the second period with Emilio Nsue and Javier Balboa testing Ghana goalkeeper Razak Braimah.
Captain Asamoah Gyan’s absence in the Ghana team was not felt that much as Jordan Ayew who took his place and Kwesi Appiah greatly accounted for themselves with the much-maligned Jordan scoring his first ever tournament goal for Ghana and Kwesi remarkably was impressive throughout with his dangerous runs and decisive passes.
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Then 15 minutes from time Kwesi Appiah perfectly assisted stand-in captain Andre Ayew to put the icing on the cake to make it 3-0 and it was not long ago at the 83rd minute that the home fans started throwing missiles onto the pitch.
Mubarak Wakaso was forced to walk away from a free-kick yet to be taken as bottles were thrown at him and as if that was not enough, the minority Ghanaian fans watching the game in the stands were evacuated and chased from stands with the displaced fans standing all over the immediate back of the Equatorial Guinea second-half post.
The game was then stopped by the Gabonese referee.
Two helicopters then hovered around the Malabo stadium and the police fired tear gas just as it was becoming difficult to settle the troubled crowd.
After calm and tranquility was restored, the game resumed after close to 25 minutes of break and Gabonese referee Eric Otogo-Castane added three minutes and Jordan went close to scoring Ghana’s fourth goal.
It is a game that will be well remembered and unpopular in the history of the African cup of Nations.