Chelsea loanee Christian Atsu played almost two hours worth of football in the Africa Cup of Nations, but he had to endure a heartbreaking loss at the end of it. Ghana were beaten by the Ivory Coast 0-0 (9-8)p, with 11 rounds of penalties required in a frankly absurd shootout* which saw Elephants goalkeeper Copa Barry fake injury twice before scoring(!) the winner after saving from his Black Stars counterpart.
*Our old friend Salomon Kalou scored one.
It's fairly safe to say that the shootout was the only part of the match worth watching. Virtually nothing else of note happened in the whole game, which was one of those boring high-pressure international matches that everyone else dreads.
How did Atsu do? Better than most on the pitch. He was reasonably lively throughout, had a good long-range shot in the first half that beat Barry but cannoned back off the post, which was more attacking than the other 21 players managed:
He was substituted in the 116th minute and went on to see his replacement, Frank Acheampong, miss Ghana's fourth penalty. And when I say miss, I mean miss completely. It was pretty rubbish. Perhaps if Avram Grant had kept Atsu on the pitch, he'd be a continental champion right now.
Condolences to Atsu on the loss ... but at least Didier Drogba is a happy man right now.
Update: Atsu was named player of the tournament and won goal of the tournament. So hey, not all bad.