Ivory Coast ends long wait for AFCON title after dramatic penalty shootout

    Story highlights

    • Ivory Coast wins 2015 Africa Cup of Nations
    • Beats Ghana in penalty shoot out after extra time in goalless clash
    • Ivory Coast goalkeeper Boubacar Barry scores winning penalty
    • First Africa Cup of Nations victory for Ivorians since 1992

    (CNN)Ivory Coast claimed its first Africa Cup of Nations title in 23 years after beating Ghana 9-8 in a dramatic penalty shootout in the final Sunday.

    The winning penalty was scored by Ivory Coast goalkeeper Boubacar Barry after he had saved the preceding effort from his Ghana counterpart Razak Braimah.
      It was almost a carbon copy of the 1992 final when the Ivorians beat Ghana on spot kicks after a goalless draw and extra time.
      The 35-year-old Barry, who replaced the injured Sylvain Ghobouo for the final, had been beset by cramp during the lengthy shootout, but mustered the energy to fire his kick past the unfortunate Braimah to spark wild celebrations by his team.
      Ghana had looked set to win its first AFCON crown since 1982 when it took a 2-0 lead in the shootout after Manchester City's new signing Wilfired Bony and teammate Tallo had failed to convert their kicks.
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      But the Black Stars failed to take full advantage as Afriyie Acquah saw his effort saved by Barry and Frank Acheampong sent his effort wide.
      With all the remaining outfield players successful with their kicks, it was left to the respective goalkeepers to play out the final drama.
      The match in Bata in Equatorial Guinea was watched by the country's president Teodoro Obiang, FIFA president Sepp Blatter and Confederation of Africa Football (CAF) president Issa Hayatou.
      They saw a tactical affair which rarely reached the heights expected of a match between two powerhouses of African football, played in a stadium less than full.
      The Elephants of Ivory Coast made the better start but failed to forge a clear cut opening as the supply to star striker Bony was restricted.
      Ghana came closest to an opening as Christian Atsu's snap shot from the edge of the area rattled the post and late in the first half Andrew Ayew's effort clipped the outside of the near post.
      Further chances in the second half and during added times were again limited as both teams appeared to settle for the lottery of penalty kicks.
      The triumph is the second in three AFCON finals for Ivory Coast coach Herve Renard, who led Zambia to the 2012 title, ironically with Ivory Coast as the victims after a penalty shootout.
      Frenchman Renard, the first man to achieve this feat, understood what the triumph meant to the winning nation.
      "We dedicate this win to the Ivorian people," he told gathered reporters.
      "Football has this magic element in that it unites all the ethnic groups -- all the people who perhaps don't think the same way.
      "Ivory Coast is more than delighted today and that's the most important thing."
      His opposite Avram Grant also praised his beaten side, claiming that reach the final alone was a big achievement.
      "We were the better team but we did not create enough chances... Ghana can be proud of this young team," said the former Chelsea manager.