Ghana lose to Libya on penalties in the CHAN final
Ghana missed out on the African Nations Championship trophy after losing 4-3 on penalties to Libya in the final on Saturday night in Cape Town.
The Local Black Stars, playing in the second final in three editions of the tournament, lost to DR Congo 2-0 in the final of the inaugural edition in 2009.
Goalkeeper Adams saved two spot kicks from, Mohamed Elgadi and Abdelsalam Omar after the first five kicks tied at 3-3 and sudden death penalties ensued.
Ahmed El Trbi scored the sixth penalty for Libya before Joshua Tijani missed his for Ghana to spark celebrations from the Mediterranean Knights of Libya.
The final match of CHAN, South Africa 2014 was played before an appreciative crowd of just under 17 000 that included CAF President Issa Hayatou and his invited guest FIFA President Sepp Blatter.
It was a lively and competitive match from first whistle with both sides eager to open the scoring but clear cut scoring opportunities were few and far between.
Twenty-two minutes into the match Libya’s Faisal Ali too committed in a challenge on Mohamed Mahfud earned him a yellow card as the game opened up more and the crowd bayed for more of the entertaining stuff.
Ghana’s midfield was string some shorts passes with Abraham Attobrah at the heart of their creative play as he linked up with Seidu Bansey , Joshua Tijani, captain Jordan Opoku and Sulley Mohammed to give the Black Stars territorial advantage.
The Libyans defence anchored by captain Ali Salama held firm and whatever went past goal-minder Mohamed Abdaula dealt with. Ghana finished the first half in ascendancy but the scoreboard remained blank.
Twenty-seven (27) minutes into play some neat exchanges allowed Theophilus Anobaah to turn inside that box but Ahmed Trbi recovered in time to stop a shot on goal as Ghana came close again.
At the other end Elmutasem Abushnaf failed to keep his short low and on target after working his way to the edge of Ghanaian penalty box.
In the second half Libya pushed more bodies upfront but it was Ghanaian substitute Yahaya Mohamed who came closest to breaking the deadlock with an attempted back kick.
He didn’t quite connect and Ahmed Almaghasi cleared the danger.
The goal remained elusive and into extra time it went. Abushnaf’s header from Elmehdi Elhouni sailed centimeters over the cross bar.
Sulley Mohamed saw his effort trickle past the post as Ghana came agonizingly close.
Adams saved a goal bound effort from Libyan substitute Muataz Fadel and then it was time for penalty shoot-out.