Gallant Black Stars lose to Egypt
An inexperienced Ghana side lost 1-0 in the final of the Africa Cup of Nations to Egypt, despite dominating the game against the continental giants in Angola on Sunday.
Substitute Mohamed Nagui struck five minutes from time for Egypt who became the first team to win the African Nations Cup three times in succession after a 1-0 victory over Ghana in Sunday's final.
Nagui netted with a fine curling shot from inside the box to give Egypt a record seventh title in the continental tournament.
Ghana, who were looking for their first Nations Cup title since 1982, defended neatly throughout but were helpless when Nagui raced into the box and unleashed the winner following a swift one-two.
Egypt, unbeaten in their last 19 Nations Cup games, were pipped by Algeria for a World Cup finals spot but they beat four World Cup-bound teams en route to their triumph.
The win also gave Egyptian coach Hassan Shehata a history-making third championship and extended Egypt's unbeaten record in the
competition to an astonishing 19 games.
Egypt were unchanged from the XI that crushed Algeria 4-0 in the semi-finals save for the absence of suspended defender Mahmoud
Fatalla - former Spurs midfielder Hossam Ghaly started in his place.
Fears that striker Emad Motaeb may have to miss the final due to a hamstring strain proved unfounded.
Ghana named an identical line-up to their last four win over Nigeria, with captain Richard Kingson taking up residence between
the posts despite a late fitness scare.
The Black Stars made it to the final playing pragmatic rather than beautiful football, but they began in enterprising fashion,
matching the Egyptians for speed and dexterity.
In-form striker Asamoah Gyan had an early shot go high over the Pharaoh's crossbar and Serie A-based Kwadwo Asamoah had a long range effort safely scooped up by Essam al-Hadary as the supposed 'underdogs' counter attacked with menace.
Down at the other end Egypt were proving slippery down their right flank.
On 25 minutes Kingson, clearly feeling his injury, had Mohamed Zidan's long ranger covered by the far post.
Towards the end of the first period both skipper Ahmed Hassan, on his 172nd international appearance, and Motaeb, failed to connect
with a floating 25m Egyptian freekick into the box.
Honours even it was as the sides re-emerged after the break with the 50,000 capacity Chinese-built stadium by now three-quarters full
and the near 40 degree heat which greeted the players at kick-off cooling down as night fell.
Opoku Agyemang went into Mali referee Coulibaly Koman's book for an ill-judged tackle on Ahmed al-Mohamady and not to be outdone
Egypt's Sayed Moawad picked up a yellow card seconds later for handball.
Koman had his hand in his pocket again to fish out a card for al-Mohamady after a collision with Opoku, with Gyan's resulting 28m
freekick edging over the woodwork.
Shehata introduced Zamalek defender Mohamed Abdel Shafi for Moawad on 56 minutes.
The game badly needed a goal but what it got was another booking, this time Ghaly for pulling Asamoah.
Gyan had al-Hadary at full stretch on the hour but the keeper needn't have worried as the Rennes forward's shot curled round to
the left of the near-post with the ball crashing into the side netting.
Shehata brought on supersub Gedo with 20 minutes left for Motaeb hoping the Al-Ittihad striker would repeat his magic.
Ghana's best chance came in the 78th minute when al-Hadary did well to punch away Gyan's lethal looking 28m freekick as Ghana's
youngsters had Egypt's red shirts on the run.
Unbelievably with the game heading towards extra-time Gedo conjured up the decisive goal with a sublime 1-2 with Zidan down the
left to slot an angled shot past Kingson.
The Black Stars were overly impressive against Egypt in both halves of the final of the Africa Cup of Nations.
Egypt who have dominated teams like Cameroon, Algeria, Nigeria, Benin and Mozambique were expected to completely dominate the young Ghana side.
But the Ghanaians were totally unrecognisable as they have change from the defensive side that played their previous matches.
The Black Stars have passed more and played more impressive than the Egyptians.