Makomborero Mutimukulu in MALABO, Equatorial Guinea
Ghana……………………………(2)3THE dream final is on but African football is in a mess after the semi-final clash between African Cup of Nations hosts Equatorial Guinea and Ghana was marred by crowd trouble at Estadio de Malabo last night.
On a night Equatorial Guinea security chiefs did not ask the Zimbabwe Commando Anti Terrorism Unit to deploy at the stadium, the image of African football was soiled, in front of millions of television viewers, as a section of the crowd stormed the pitch with eight minutes remaining.
The Angolan police, who were tasked with providing security at the match venue together with host countryâs security personnel, had a tough time in trying to bring the situation under control.
The disturbances caused a lengthy stoppage in play.
The Black Stars will now battle the Elephants of Cote dâIvoire for the right to be called kings of the continent on Sunday.
Goals from Andre Ayew, Wakasu Mubarak and Andre Ayew carried Ghana into the final.
For the hosts the fairytale run ended at the hands of team that had seemingly perfected the art of choking a step away from the final.
Prior to last night Ghana had lost three consecutive Afcon semi-finals. Equatorial Guinea, meanwhile, will come back to Malabo tomorrow to take on the Democratic Republic of Congo in a third-place play off.
In front of a vociferous crowd at the 15 000 capacity stadium, the hosts looked pumped up and tried to fire off at the sound of Gabonese referee Eric Castaneâs kick-off whistle.
However, Esteban Beckerâs lads, in a bid to get off to an explosive start, hurried their efforts and mistimed their tackles.
On four minutes, quarter-final hero Javier Balboa attempted a spectacular overhead kick when a header could have been more lethal with Blacks Stars goalkeeper Razak Braimah exposed.
Ghana coach Avram Grant decided against risking injured skipper Asamoah Gyan.
Andre Ayew took over the armband.
Jordan Ayew, the younger one of Abedi Pele Ayewâs boys, coolly converted a 42nd minute penalty after Ovono had brought down the slippery Appiah inside the box.
It went awry for the hosts right before the half time whistle, Wakasu Mubarak neatly cutting inside his marker before beating Ovono.
On-loan Chelsea man Christian Atsu made it possible with a galloping run through the centre before unselfishly teeing up his teammate.
Two goals in three minutes for the Black Stars!
It was too much for the home sideâs fans.
Those housed on the eastern side of the stadium pelted the Ghanaian players as they made their way to the dressing room at half time.
They must have known, even with 45 minutes still to play, that the dream run was coming to an end.
To their credit Equatorial Guinea tried to make a match of it in the second half with skipper Emilio Nsue Lopez, Balboa and Ivan Edu Salvador all spurning decent chances.
Ghana, with one hand on the ticket to the final, sat back and sought to hit on the counter.
The approach worked like clockwork on 74 minutes as Andrew Ayew tapped home his sideâs third after some good work by Appiah down the left channel.
Then the chaos started.
Some Ghanaian fans stormed the park fleeing attacks from their Equatorial Guinea counterparts.
Amid the chaos one lunatic tried to manhandle the referee.
The Confederation of African Football promised to issue a statement on the fracas today.