BATA, Equatorial Guinea, Feb 8 (Reuters) - After Ivory Coast missed their opening two penalty kicks, forward Gervinho gave up hope of beating Ghana in the African Nations Cup final.
“At two-nil down, I took my seat and I turned my back on the game,” Gervinho told reporters. “Maybe it brought us good luck.”
Whether luck or skill, his team mates went on to convert their next eight penalties before Ghana goalkeeper Razak Braimah’s effort was saved by Boubacar Barry to set up the chance for victory.
The Ivorian number one converted his penalty to seal it 9-8 and end Ivory Coast’s 23-year wait for the continental championship.
”Frankly, I didn’t believe, I didn’t believe we could do it,“ Gervinho said. ”It was stressful, it was hard to watch, because penalties are luck.
”I was stressed, I had so many bad ideas in my head. To miss out on this title again would have been so disappointing.
“I am happy, we’ve fought hard, we’ve won this title and it wasn’t easy,” Gervinho added
“So many years of suffering, so many years of criticism and now we have to celebrate. We have to praise the goalkeeper, he played so well and we’re delighted to have won tonight.”
Gervinho, who was substituted in extra time of the goalless draw, missed a penalty in the 2012 final shootout defeat to Zambia.
”The shootout failures of 2010 and 2012 were in my mind but there you go. There were so many things going on in my thoughts.
“After so many finals, so many disappointments, this had to be the one.” (Editing by Patrick Johnston)