Goalkeeper Boubacar Barry scored the decisive goal as Ivory Coast ended a 23-year Africa Cup of Nations title, by winning 9-8 on penalties. The penalty decision was taken by the referee after the final ended 0-0 following extra time. Before netting his ball, Barry had set up the match-winning chance by diving to his left and pushing away a spot-kick from Ghana goalkeeper Razak Braimah.
Brimah was not impressed as he tried to drag Barry up, and after he did clamber to his feet, Barry slotted home the final penalty to win the cup for Ivory Coast.
He was not even supposed to be playing in Sunday night’s final, but he became the hero, and villain, of a remarkable penalty shoot-out. Barry had to be drafted in after Ivory Coast first choice Sylvain Gbohouo suffered an injury; and he left his mark on the competition in a very unforgettable fashion.
Ivory Coast triumphed despite making such a disastrous start to the 22-penalty climax with the first kick from Willfried Bony hitting the crossbar. The final of Africa Cup of Nations 2015 repeated the history to the time of only other title that the country achieved in 1992. At the time they edged with Ghanaians, also on penalties after a goalless draw.
“I have been criticizes, but I am able to progress,” he told Canal+. “I’m not big in talent nor in size, but I want to progress, I worked for the team. My mum suffered. Thanks to her, thank you to all Ivorians,” he said in emotional manner.
Both countries made on change each from the teams that started in convincing semifinal victories over the Democratic Republic of Congo and Equatorial Guinea respectively.
And a month after his heroics in helping his country win the Africa Cup of Nations, the Ivory Coast goalkeeper has announced his retirement from international football. “After many years in the national team it is time to give way to a new generation,” wrote the 35-year-old in a letter to the Ivory Coast government. He admitted that he has been “delighted to contribute to the national team and to bring some delight to the Ivorian people.”
Barry won the first of his 86 caps in a World Cup qualifiers in 2000 but only became regular for his country at the World Cup in Germany six years later. The veteran goalkeeper also played at the 2010 and 2014 World Cups and at six successive Cup of Nations tournaments.