• Zambia shock Ghana as Ivory Coast eliminate Mali

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  • Zambia shocked favourites Ghana 1-0 in their semi-final clash Wednesday night in Bata.Zambia shocked favourites Ghana 1-0 in their semi-final clash Wednesday night in Bata.
Feb 09, 2012-

Ivory Coast marched into the final of the 28th edition of the Orange Africa Cup of Nations after edging Mali 1-0 at Stade de l ’Amities in Libreville.

On a day when the Elephants started the match as the remaining favourites after Ghana fell to Zambia any fears of a repeat giant-killing act were quickly dispelled by a dominant Ivorian side from first whistle.

The Elephants saw efforts from Didier Drogba , Yaya Toure and Salomon Kalou come off the post in a first half they controlled restricting Mali to occasional attacks. The Mali goal was under threat and goalkeeper Soumaila Diakite was a busy man making saves or thanking his goal posts as Ivorians ran the show.

Mali managed to weather the onslaught midway through the first half and went close when Tidiane Cheick Diabate shot was punched back into play by Barry in Ivorian goal only to fall to Mustapha Yatabare but the striker missed from the rebound.

Mali ‘s defence led by captain Cedric Kante who made some timely tackles to keep the Ivorians at bay was soon involved in moves that had Mali testing the opposition. Seydou Keita’s presence grew in the midfield as he saw more of the ball but Ivorians remained a threat.

Right on the stroke of half time Gervinho beat Ousmane Berthe by the halfway line on the right flank and raced towards goal and managed to beat Diakite with a low shot into the goalkeeper’s bottom right hand corner for the opening goal. It was Gervinho’s first goal of the tournament.

The second half saw both sides up the tempo but Ivorians created most of the chances again with Drogba going close with a header and was stopped by goalkeeper after running away from Kante.

The Ivorians could have added to the score line but in the end Gervinho’s goal was enough to take them to the final on the 12th in Libreville against Chipolopolo of Zambia, while Mali will meet Ghana again for third and fourth place match in Malabo on the 11th.

Zambia shocked Ghana 1-0 with Emmanuel Mayuka scoring a late winner in the teams’ semifinal in Bata. Zambia started the match at a high tempo but Ghana earned an early penalty kick.

In the seventh minute, Kwadwo Asamoah attempted to latch on to a pass inside the box but was caught by a late challenge from South African-based defender, Davies Nkasau. A penalty was awarded but Asamoah Gyan was unable to convert, with Kennedy Mweene making a fine save.

Derek Boateng was orchestrating the game for Ghana throughout the first half. The Dnipro man sprayed play nicely down the flanks for Jordan and Andre Ayew, but with 20 minutes gone not too many clear cut chances had been created, aside from the missed penalty earlier on.

But not much changed as Ghana continued to attack Zambia, with Jordan Ayew driving down the left wing and cutting inside before lashing a shot at goal from the edge of the box, but Mweene got his body behind the ball to make a comfortable save.

In a rare Zambia attack, completely against the run of play, substitute Emmanuel Mayuka found space just outside the area and on the turn curled a shot off the right-hand post and in to make it 1-0 in the 78th minute.

The remainder of the time was left for Ghana to chase the game as they went in search of the equaliser, though Derek Boateng’s sending off for a second bookable offence did them no favours. Zambia held out for a 1-0 win.

Caf