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Category: Africa Cup of Nations 2015

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Samir Nasri: returning hero Yaya Touré can lift Manchester City for key games

• Nasri believes Touré’s “head is in the right place” after Ivory Coast success
• French midfielder also welcomes arrival of Touré’s compatriot Wilfried Bony
Jamie Jackson: Wilfried Bony can be showy but is a quality addition

Samir Nasri believes Yaya Touré’s “head is in the right place” for the decisive phase of Manchester City’s title defence and Champions League challenge after the midfielder led the Ivory Coast to the Africa Cup of Nations triumph in Equatorial Guinea earlier this month.

Touré, 31, is set to make his first appearance for the club since the tournament finished in Saturday evening’s home game against Newcastle United. The champions will hope to keep up ground on Chelsea, who could be 10 points ahead by the time City’s match begins. The league leaders play Burnley at Stamford Bridge today in a 3pm kick-off.

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Manchester City’s Yaya Touré and Wilfried Bony will not play against Stoke

• Ivory Coast duo returning to Abidjan after Nations Cup triumph
• Bony now expected to make debut v Newcastle on 21 February
• Didier Drogba leads celebrations after Africa Cup of Nations win

Yaya Touré and Wilfried Bony are returning to Ivory Coast to celebrate the Africa Cup of Nations triumph so will not be available for Manchester City’s visit to Stoke City on Wednesday evening.

City’s 1-1 draw with Hull City on Saturday left the champions seven points behind Chelsea and so they must defeat Stoke to retain realistic hopes of defending the title.

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Africa Cup of Nations 2015 review: highs and lows of the tournament

The best goal, the best game and the biggest surprises after an eventful month in Equatorial Guinea was ended with Ivory Coast’s shootout success over Ghana
• Drogba leads celebrations as Ivorians end their long wait
• Ivory Coast 0-0-Ghana (Ivory Coast win 9-8 on penalties): match report

It would be churlish not to praise the winner, Ivory Coast, even if they stumbled over the line. They had waited 23 years for this and, mainly for their performances in the games against Cameroon, Algeria and DR Congo, could justifiably be called the best team. Equatorial Guinea deserve a mention too – their progress from the group stage was exhilarating and played out to remarkable levels of volume, and not even their fortunate win over Tunisia could completely silence the feelgood story. An unusually technical, mobile team of overachievers were fascinating to watch but in falling short against Ghana, their story became overtaken somewhat by off-pitch events.

Related: Ivory Coast 0-0 Ghana (IC 9-8 on pens) | Africa Cup of Nations final

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Didier Drogba leads celebrations after Ivory Coast’s Africa Cup of Nations win

• Chelsea striker posts video on Instagram of winning moment
• Boubacar Barry: I’m not big in talent but I have shown the critics
• Ivory Coast win Africa Cup of Nations in penalty shootout

Didier Drogba led the celebrations as Ivory Coast ended more than two decades without a trophy by beating Ghana on penalties to lift the Africa Cup of Nations on Sunday night.

The Chelsea striker, who retired from international football last year after earning a record 104 caps, posted a video on Instagram of the moment when goalkeeper Boubacar Barry scored the winning penalty with the message “Coooopaaaa faut marquer buuulaaaaa cooooopaaaaa!!!!!!!!!”.

We started from the bottom now we here. With my bro #yayatoure #championsleagues #premiereleaguehttp://t.co/ehJOJz1x3F

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Ivory Coast win Africa Cup of Nations after penalty shootout against Ghana

• Ivory Coast 0-0 Ghana (Ivory Coast win 9-8 on pens) Continue reading…



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Ivory Coast win Africa Cup of Nations in penalty shootout against Ghana

• Ivory Coast 0-0 Ghana (Ivory Coast win 9-8 on pens)

Could there have been a more unlikely hero than Boubacar Barry? He was the reserve keeper, the relic of the past, the clownish figure so often blamed for Ivorian failure. Elevated to play in the final only because Sylvain Gbohouo had suffered a thigh strain, he seized his opportunity in a ridiculous, hilarious, remarkable way, saving two penalties and then scoring the decisive kick in the shootout himself.

The mood was of relief rather than jubilation. “When you win with your club it’s quite amazing but with your country it’s unbelievable,” Yaya Touré said. “I’ve been waiting I don’t know how many years to lift this trophy – as captain is something special. The luck came to our side today. I’m delighted and very happy.”

Related: Nigel Pearson clings on to Leicester City job after night of confusion

Related: Athletic Bilbao 2-5 Barcelona | La Liga match report

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Ivory Coast win the Africa Cup of Nations on penalties – as it happened

Ivory Coast defeated Ghana 9-8 in a penalty shootout at the end of a dramatic evening in Bata Continue reading…

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‘Why we shouldn’t support the Africa Cup of Nations’

As final approaches, exiled Equatorial Guinean writer Juan Tomás Ávila Laurel says supporting the tournament is supporting the dictatorship that’s hosting it

A certain event currently taking place in Equatorial Guinea has shown just how easy it can be for dictators to convince us all to play along with their games.

Since 2012, the country’s president, Teodoro Obiang Nguema, has hosted every event international organisations would let him get his hands on. He has twice hosted the African Union summit, for which he built an entire luxury village at the cost of millions of euros. He has hosted the African Cup of Nations twice, first in tandem with Gabon in 2012 and stepping in again this year when Morocco pulled out over fears of an Ebola outbreak.

Related: What a way to celebrate the Africa Cup of Nations

Related: Sepp Blatter slams media coverage of Africa Cup of Nations violence

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‘Why we shouldn’t support the Africa Cup of Nations’

As final approaches, exiled Equatorial Guinean writer Juan Tomás Ávila Laurel says supporting the tournament is supporting the dictatorship that’s hosting it

A certain event currently taking place in Equatorial Guinea has shown just how easy it can be for dictators to convince us all to play along with their games.

Since 2012, the country’s president, Teodoro Obiang Nguema, has hosted every event international organisations would let him get his hands on. He has twice hosted the African Union summit, for which he built an entire luxury village at the cost of millions of euros. He has hosted the African Cup of Nations twice, first in tandem with Gabon in 2012 and stepping in again this year when Morocco pulled out over fears of an Ebola outbreak.

Related: What a way to celebrate the Africa Cup of Nations

Related: Sepp Blatter slams media coverage of Africa Cup of Nations violence

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Football in Africa: readers’ photos – in pictures

Ahead of the 2015 African Cup of Nations tournament we asked our readers to share their photos and experiences of football in Africa. We have received some great images of the sport being enjoyed across the continent. Here are some of our favourites

You can see all the contributions – or add your own – on GuardianWitness

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DR Congo spot-on to deny Equatorial Guinea third place in low-key affair

• DR Congo 0-0 Equatorial Guinea
• DR Congo win 4-2 on penalties

Equatorial Guinea’s Africa Cup of Nations swung from fairytale to farce in a matter of hours this week and it seemed sadly apposite that one of their heroes from this tournament, Javier Balboa, was complicit in this third place play-off defeat. Balboa’s penalty, the first to be taken in the shootout, was skied high and wide of the target, Raúl Fabiani’s subsequent miss effectively confirming that DR Congo – who have impressed with their counterattacking football for most of this tournament – leave for Kinshasa with their best finish since 1998.

Among the hosts’ punishments for the violence that marred Thursday night’s semi-final defeat to Ghana was the suspended prospect of playing a home game behind closed doors. When this match kicked off in front of barely 300 supporters, the total eventually struggling into four figures, it was tempting to consider that they have already served their time on this front. A police helicopter, used to such brutal effect during those disturbances, hovered overhead and a security operation that promised “stricter measures” had been notably ramped up. These had clearly been deterrent enough: this crowd was never going to threaten a repeat offence and the heavily-armed officers were able to spend most of a humid early evening watching from the stands.

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Sepp Blatter slams media coverage of Africa Cup of Nations violence

• Fifa president accuses western press of dramatising events
• Blatter: ‘we never talk about princesses any more’
• Match report: Ghana 3-0 Equatorial Guinea
• Equatorial Guinea fans’ violence: ‘I was choking, my eyes burning’ Continue reading…



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Sepp Blatter slams media coverage of Africa Cup of Nations violence

• Fifa president accuses western press of dramatising events
• Blatter: ‘We never talk about princesses any more’
• Match report: Ghana 3-0 Equatorial Guinea
• Equatorial Guinea fans’ violence: ‘I was choking, my eyes burning’

The Fifa president, Sepp Blatter, and the Confederation of African Football chief, Issa Hayatou, have accused western media of dramatising the crowd violence which marred the Africa Cup of Nations semi-final between Ghana and Equatorial Guinea.

Projectiles were hurled at players and supporters, a police helicopter was called to disperse fans in the stadium and conflict continued outside the ground after the match which was delayed for over half an hour before Ghana prevailed 3-0.

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Avram Grant putting his shirt on Ghana’s Africa Cup of Nations chances

• Former Chelsea coach will continue to wear ‘lucky’ top against Ivory Coast
• Hervé Renard one win from an historic double in competition
Equatorial Guinea fined £65,000 over Africa Cup violence

As the helicopter descended, Avram Grant glanced up, his face as cadaverous as ever, but seemed emotionless. Whatever he actually felt amid the violence that led to Ghana’s Cup of Nations semi-final against Equatorial Guinea being suspended for almost 40 minutes, his outward appearance was calm. When the smoke grenades cleared, fans were evacuated from two stands of the Estadio de Malabo and the bottles and other missiles were cleared from the pitch, the overriding sense was of the sang-froid with which Ghana had reacted.

This is a team that has, with some justification, been accused of complacency in the past two Cups of Nations. Here, the lack of outward emotion was a positive. “We had a very good training camp in Spain,” said Grant. “We did a lot about mentality – it’s important in sports and in life to recover. This is one of the things I wanted to see with the team: the mentality. I think this is one of the keys for everything. It’s important also in life to look for solutions when things are going wrong. [The semi-final] showed a lot of strength in very difficult situation; the players showed to people in the country that they can count on them.”

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Avram Grant putting his shirt on Ghana’s Africa Cup of Nations chances

• Former Chelsea coach will continue to wear ‘lucky’ top against Ivory Coast
• Hervé Renard one win from an historic double in competition
Equatorial Guinea fined £65,000 over Africa Cup violence

As the helicopter descended, Avram Grant glanced up, his face as cadaverous as ever, but seemed emotionless. Whatever he actually felt amid the violence that led to Ghana’s Cup of Nations semi-final against Equatorial Guinea being suspended for almost 40 minutes, his outward appearance was calm. When the smoke grenades cleared, fans were evacuated from two stands of the Estadio de Malabo and the bottles and other missiles were cleared from the pitch, the overriding sense was of the sang-froid with which Ghana had reacted.

This is a team that has, with some justification, been accused of complacency in the past two Cups of Nations. Here, the lack of outward emotion was a positive. “We had a very good training camp in Spain,” said Grant. “We did a lot about mentality – it’s important in sports and in life to recover. This is one of the things I wanted to see with the team: the mentality. I think this is one of the keys for everything. It’s important also in life to look for solutions when things are going wrong. [The semi-final] showed a lot of strength in very difficult situation; the players showed to people in the country that they can count on them.”

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Morocco banned and fined $1m over Africa Cup of Nations withdrawal

• CAF also order Moroccan Football Federation to pay €8m
• North African nation banned for next two tournaments
• Equatorial Guinea fined £65,000 over Africa Cup violence

Morocco have been banned from the next two African Nations Cups and fined $1m (£656,000) for pulling out of hosting this year’s competition, the Confederation of African Football has announced.

Caf also ordered the Moroccan Football Federation to pay compensation of €8m (£5.9m) for losses sustained by CAF, its stakeholders and partners as a result of its decision not to host the tournament.

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What a way to celebrate the Africa Cup of Nations

Ghana takes on Ivory Coast on Sunday to decide the 2015 title, but who should win the more important accolade of the best goal celebration? Continue reading…

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What a way to celebrate the Africa Cup of Nations

Ghana takes on Ivory Coast on Sunday to decide the 2015 title, but who should win the more important accolade of the best goal celebration? Continue reading…

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Equatorial Guinea fined £65,000 over Africa Cup violence against Ghana

• Hosts ordered to meet cost of treatment to injured fans
• Ghana FA feared supporters would be killed in tumult
•The Confederation of African Football statement
• Gary Al-Smith ‘I was choking … my eyes started burning’
• Ghana players and fans pelted with missiles in win
• In pictures: helicopters, riot police and chaos Continue reading…



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Equatorial Guinea fans’ violence: ‘I was choking … my eyes started burning’

Gary Al-Smith, a Ghanaian journalist, was in the Estadio de Malabo when visiting supporters were attacked by Equatorial Guinea fans during the Africa Cup of Nations semi-final
• Ghana players and fans pelted with missiles

The louspeaker crackled to life. “This is the minister of sport of the Republic of Equatorial Guinea,” a disembodied voice said. “I want to urge you all to calm down and cooperate with the police. We are sending a poor image about our country …” The crowd responded with boos and whistles. Another warning from the PA – and then the police moved in.

Smoke bombs flew. A chopper appeared, lowering its rotors to scatter fans as police brandished batons and Tasers. For a brief moment, there was a rush as supporters made for the exits, all played out to a global audience.

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