Quarter-Finals Round-Up (1-2): 10-man Ghana, Rampant Elephants Advance

الإثنين، 04 فبراير 2008 - 17:55

كتب : Omar AbdelAziz

The first day of the African Cup of Nations knock-out stage saw hosts Ghana snatching a dramatic win from Nigeria, whilst Ivory Coast unsurprisingly overwhelmed Guinea 5-0.

Nigeria failed to capitalize on the extra man advantage after Ghana captain John Mensah was sent off, only for the Black Stars to cruise through thanks to a Junior Agogo strike.

Sekondi witnessed a goal feast by the Elephants, who once again proved they are favorites for the title, sending a warning note to all participants.

Man of the day: Ghana coach Claude LeRoy managed to deal perfectly with the sending off of Mensah, which could have been a turning point in the game.

Instead of bringing on a defender, the Frenchman had his own tactical solutions to the problem of losing a key player for more than 30 minutes, as he sent Michael Essien to the heart of defense and replaced striker Asamoah Gyan with Laryea Kingston.

LeRoy eventually outclassed his opponent Berti Vogts, taking the Black Stars to the semi-finals for the first time in 12 years.

The 59-year-old coach has a crammed CV with past spells with Cameroon (twice), Senegal and DR Congo, before taking charge of Ghana in 2006.

Goal of the day: Ivory Coast hit some quality strikes past Guinea in the thumping victory, but Kader Keita's opener was the wittiest.

The Lyon winger outran a Guinea defender before deceiving everyone with a fake cross, only to blast home with the outside of his foot from an impossible angle.

Moment of the day: Goals were flowing everywhere at Felix Houphouet-Boigny stadium, but Aruna Dindane refused to follow the trend when he missed an empty net after rounding Guinea keeper Kemoko Camara.

The skilful striker produced the 'miss of the tournament' so far.

Disappointment of the day: Mensah's red card was the only thing that blurred Ghana's victory in Accra, the influential defender might not be playing again in this competition.

What the Papers Said

"AGO...GOAL!!! The Eagles come crashing as 10-man Ghana outshine the Super Eagles of Nigeria," said The Statesman

''10 men against 12 and the Stars triumphed" was the headline of Accra Mail, which launched a severe attack on referee Mohamed Benouza, saying 'he was more or less wearing a Nigerian jersey in his officiating'.

Ghana News Agency stated that 'Tenacity, resilience and total commitment' was key to success of the Black Stars.

Graphic Ghana said: ''10-man Black Stars send Nigeria packing'.

The Guardian posted a blasting headline: ''10-man Ghana seal historic win against Super Chickens''.

Nigeria's Daily Sun reported that '10-man Ghana sent Nigeria out of CAN in a game full of tension and drama', while Daily Trust said: ''Nigeria crash out of Nations Cup".

"Elephants crushing anything," was the headline in Notre Voie newspaper, whilst Fratmat said: ''5-0…and more to come."

Fratmat also hailed Keita as man of the match, describing the pacey winger as 'the Wisp'.

L'Inter stated: "The Elephants crush Syli and qualify for semi finals."