CAN ’10: ••FINAL•• Ghana-Egypt!
‘Tis finally the day—we pick a winner of the 2010 African Cup of Nations and bid farewell to this tournament, knowing not what sporting/editorials challenges await us in the future!
Ghana have ground out three 1-0 wins in a row, the last two via goals by Asamoah Gyan working as a lone striker. Egypt meanwhile have scored 14 goals in the tournament so far to Ghana’s 4.
Ghana: Kingson; Addy, Inkoom, Sarpei, Vorsah; Agyemang-Badu, Ayew, Opoku, Asamoah, Annan; Gyan.
Egypt: Al Hadari; Al Muhammadi, Said, Gomaa, Moawad; Fathi, Abd Rabou, Hassan, Ghali; Zidan, Motaeb.
One minor factor worth considering is that Egypt hasn’t yet played in Luanda on the spongy/tenuous/patchy pitch of the Estadio 11 de Novembro. Ghana have played their last THREE matches (all 1-0) in Luanda and perhaps Egypt’s more ambitious and flowing passing game won’t translate as well to the unpredictable grass “here”.
We’re underway but very little happening!!! It’s apparently 37ºC there today.
23 min: Alright! A shot on goal as 21 y/o Kwadwo Asamoah takes a left-footed pop from 30+ yards…it’s swerving downwards but Al Hadari smothers it out.
25 min: Ghana look, hate to fall back on this word, ORGANIZED! Not exactly ambitious, but compact and intent. The passing quality on both sides has been lacking…lots of punted balls to nowhere.
27 min: My announcer informing me here that FIFA bureaucratic godhead Sepp Blatter cancelled a pre-match on-field appearance due to the heat, issues of sweating like an extremely well-fed pig on camera.
40 mins: …
0-0 at HALFTIME!!! The match has yet to take off here, with both sides feeling each other out. Egypt have had 57% of the possession but no shots on goal (Ghana had two potshots, but no serious chances).
GRASS: The state of the pitch is sadly defining this game I think. With Egypt having played all of their matches so far in Benguela (the most stable & carpet-like pitch in Angola so far), but the Estadio 11 de Novembro’s grass is harder to run on/stop on/is riddled with bobble-inducing divots which make it difficult to play fast & accurate passes on the ground. Halftime prognostications have to note that Ghana have not only played their last 3 matches (where they scored one goal earlyish, then cagily defended the match out) in this stadium, but that they’ve been staying in the capital for nearly 2 weeks, whereas Egypt are newly arrived.
70 min: Current CAN ’10 top scorer Mohamed Gedo is on in place of Moteab.
85 min 1-0 EGYPT!: Well well, it’s substitute Gedo popping up in the penalty after a give & go with Zidan, and he sidefoots around the keeper! Gedo’s 5th goal of the tournament and he will finish as CAN top scorer—4 of his goals were coming off the bench, as just now.
90+ min: Time is a’wasting…but that is too passive a construction. Rather it’s being actively wasted by the Egyptians.
FULLTIME! EGYPT 1-0 GHANA! Hassan Shehata has lead the Pharoahs to an unprecedented 3rd straight African Cup.
Egyptian keeper & head cheerleader Al Hadari really does have an inner gay male aerobics instructor, and he is channelling it as the Pharoahs celebrate this title. It’s kind of amazing that Egypt were so underestimated in this tournament, coming in as defending champs. Like Ghana they had some major names missing through injury (MF Aboutrika and striker Amir Zaki), and any gaps were most spectacularly plugged by Mohamed “Gedo” Nagy who finishes with 5 goals.
PARABENS TO EGYPT…and we also say thank you!/goodbye! to Angola as we conclude CAN 2010! There is a funky and futuristic (blue lights + body glittered dancers flying through the air on wires) Closing Ceremony on the pitch right now!
Luckily the massive divots of dislodged grass are not posing any problems for the dancers here, many of whom have recently returned to earth after floating through the air suspended on wires.
HOLD ON some chaps with jet blaster packs are also flying into the stadium and set to land, bearing gifts!
Closing ceremony coverage continues as we congratulate the Egyptians! It’s a shame they won’t be at the World Cup in June. Perhaps a swap deal can be negotiated where they play instead of South Africa?
The sun has set and Sepp Blatter has deemed it cool enough to waddle out onto the pitch! His head is still a bit sweaty though, and some of the metallic confetti which rained down upon the stadium has affixed to hit pate VISUALLY LITERALIZING a massive hole in his head. Medals are being distributed…and we are signing off!
We bid you fairwell from the Estadio 11 de Novembro!!! And as Nate noted below, just because you’ve come to know us through our CAN ’10 coverage doesn’t mean that we won’t continue to bring you SOCCER-RELATED CULTURAL INSIGHT & COMMENTARY in the coming months. Thanks for reading where applicable!