0-0 after extra time 5-5 in a perfect shootout
Ivory Coast left back Siaka Tiéné took their first penalty of sudden death. Despite the pressure he placed a good shot into the top left corner of the goal. Still nobody had missed!
There was immense pressure on both sets of player but especially the Zambians as they knew that one miss and they would instantly lose the game.
Sinkala was the man to take the kick. It was a bit close for comfort as it went as close to the angle at the top right corner as its possible to get. It turned out to be a brilliant penalty but for a split second it looked as though he had missed.
The next two penalties were both converted making the score 7-7. Ya Konan scored for Ivory Coast and Lungu for Zambia. For all the pressure not one player had missed.
Suddenly no one could score
Manchester City Defender Kolo Toure stepped up to take Ivory Coast’s next penalty. He took a very long run up and charged at the ball extremely fast. It wasn’t a typical penalty taking technique and it had the worst possible outcome for Toure. His kick was hard but too close to Mewwne’s left and the goalkeeper got down and saved it.
Interestingly he jumped off his line as he had done when he saved Bamba’s kick but this time he was not penalised for it and the save stood. So if Zambia scored their next penalty they would be champions.
Midfielder Kalaba took the responsibility. The Zambian players and bench were on their knees with their arms around each other singing a Zambian song. Their solidarity was there for all to see. But Kalaba hit his penalty over the bar and it was all square again in the shootout.
Arsenal’s Gervinho took the next kick for Ivory Coast. He put the ball wide of the goalkeeper’s left post having sent him the wrong way. After 14 consecutive penalties scored, suddenly nobody could find the net.
Sunzu wins it for Zambia
Zambia had another chance to win the cup. Sunzu stepped up to take the penalty. He was able to keep his nerve and fired the ball down the middle of the goal. Barry dived to his right and the ball struck the net behind where he had been standing.
The Zambian players were ecstatic and ran to celebrate with their new penalty hero. There was a nice moment when their coach, Hervé Renard, who became the fourth Frenchman to coach a side to African Nations Cup glory, carried Musonda on to the pitch so the injured defender could celebrate with his team mates.
It was a wonderful end to a match which had been played with a great sporting spirit. A fantastic victory for the underdogs that was made all the more poignant by the fact it had taken place in Gabon, where the team of 1993 had died.
Perhaps it had been written in the stars for Zambia to win.