Ghana soccer coach happy as team bags third place

February 16th, 2008 - 1:31 am ICT by admin  

Kumasi (Ghana), Feb 10 (DPA) Ghana coach Claude Le Roy said he was very proud of his players after the team came from behind to win 4-2 against Ivory Coast to give the hosts a third place at the Africa Nations Cup here. “I am extremely proud how my side came back. We were outplayed for 20 minutes but that did not stop us from coming back. I am pleased that we are still going strong,” he said Saturday.

The Frenchman said he did not want to make predictions about his personal future at this stage. “We want to enjoy this victory and a good finish to a good tournament. Everything else will come later,” he said.

The stadium in Kumasi was, once again, not filled at the start although it did fill out towards the end.

The Black Stars won with an excellent second-half display that saw them score thrice in 15 minutes to give them a positive ending after the disappointment of losing Thursday’s semi-final against Cameroon 1-0.

The home side opened the scoring in the 10th minute after Portsmouth midfielder Sulley Muntari slammed a freekick that he himself had earned into the top corner.

Werder Bremen striker Boubacar Sanogo then scored twice for the Ivory Coast in the space of eight minutes, first by running onto a long pass into space in the 24th minute and then by simply pushing his foot towards a lose ball in the area.

His second goal was the 94th at this competition, beating the previous best-mark established in Burkina Faso in 1998, when 93 goals were scored.

Sanogo came agonizingly close to scoring his hat-trick when he was set up by captain Didier Drogba and clinically played the ball over goalkeeper Richard Kingson, only to see it hit the crossbar.

The Ivory Coast went into the change rooms 2-1 up.

Ghana came back strongly in the second half as they scored three goals in 15 minutes. Quincy Owusu-Abeyie equalized in the 70th minute with a brilliant individual effort after taking the ball into the area.

Ten minutes later Junior Agogo scored from a Michael Essien pass, while midfielder Haminu Dramani found the back of the net five minutes from the end with a long-range effort from 25 metres that took a wicked bounce in front of Tiasse Kone’s goal to bounce over the outstretched hands of the diving goalkeeper.

Referee Jerome Damon’s final whistle was greeted by scenes of jubiliation by the Black Stars players, who started dancing on the field.

Sunday’s final in the Ohene Djan stadium in Accra sees Egypt take on Cameroon.

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