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Zambia beat Ghana to book dream final


A superb Emmanuel Bayuka goal late in the second half against the Black Stars has sent the Chipolopolo of Zambia in the final of the AFCON tournament.
Ghana’s Asamoah Gyan will rue a penalty he missed early in the first half but full marks go to the Zambians who were disciplined in all department of the game.
It was the Zambians who pounded the goal area of the Stars winning two corner kicks in two minutes but it was the Stars who came back strongly and did not look an emasculated side even after Goran Stevanovic made three changes to the team that won against Tunisia.
After sweet sublime play it was Ghana who won a penalty after Kwodwo Asamoah was brought down in what looked like a harsh decision against the Zambians.
But in a dejavu for Asamoah Gyan- whose wasted penalty kick denied Ghana an historic World Cup semi-final- the Al Ain striker again wasted another penalty and an opportunity to put the Ghana side ahead.
Two minutes after a woeful penalty kick, Gyan shrugged off a challenge from his marker and forced a superb save from Mwene in post for the Zambians.
The Stars however looked exciting with skillful runs from Jordan Ayew from the left of attack but Mwene was not tested.
The Zambians looked very organized in midfield and in defence and tried on few occasions to catch the Ghanaians on the break. On one such occasion, the Ghanaian defence was breached but it was John Boye who saved the blushes of the side.
Gyan again missed an opportunity to make amends after he miscued a shot from close range. He combined well with Dede Ayew on the right but his final touch deep in the vital to an Ayew pass let him down badly.
The Ghanaians poured forward in desperate search for the opener but a lack of concentration and confidence upfront robbed them of numerous goal scoring opportunity.
In the 27th minute Dede Ayew whipped in a free-kick but his junior brother, Jordan Ayew in scoring range, took his eye off the ball and missed a vital connection.
Moments later Kwodwo Asamoah dribbled past two Zambian defence men and shot low, took a ricochet of a defender but Mwene parried it away. Jordan Ayew was slow to react with the Zambians clearing it out to safety.
But it was the Zambians who will create the best opportunity on the day. Kalaba took on three Ghanaian defence men, rounded them up and set up Kathongo who had only Kwarasey to beat. But with a little pressure from Mensah, the Zambian skipper crumbled and shot wide.
The Zambians had their confidence up after a goalless first half and came back pretty much strongly in the second half.
Jordan Ayew on two occasions took on two markers on the left, beat them but was brought down heavily but the Stars wasted the resulting free-kicks.
The Zambians in a quick execution of a free-kick nearly caught the Ghanaians sleeping in defence but John Boye’s intervention proved vital.
But in what has been the sad story of John Mensah the Ghana skipper was taken out after clutching his right leg forcing Goran Stevanovic to replace him with Isaac Vorsah.
Four minutes later the Ghana coach again took out Asamoah Gyan for Prince Tagoe in a substitution that did not inure much for the Stars.
Shortly after, the Zambians pushed men forward and in a rare moment genius, substitute Emmanuel Mayuka dummied Joye Boye and whipped in a curly shot from close range which beat an outstretched Kwarasey in post for the Ghana side.
To add to the woes of the Black Stars, Derek Boateng was sent off after a second yellow card.
The Stars tried hard to equalise and Vorsah in a goal mouth melee could only shoot feebly and without direction denying the Ghana side a goal.
The Zambians held on and booked a historic final, awaiting the winner of the second semi-final clash between Ivory Coast and Mali.]]>


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