In Depth

Boubacar Barry: did Ivory Coast keeper go too far in shoot-out?

Keeper is 'hero and villain' of Cup of Nations final as he overcomes cramp to score winning penalty

Ivory Coast won the African Cup of Nations for the first time in 23 years after a dramatic penalty shoot-out against Ghana, in which goalkeeper Boubacar Barry was the centre of attention.

The game itself was a dull affair and ended 0-0 after extra time. But there was plenty of drama to come in the shoot-out. Ivory Coast missed their first two efforts, but Ghana also failed twice to send the shoot-out into sudden death and eventually, with the score tied at 8-8 after ten spot kicks each, it was time for the goalkeepers to try their luck from 12-yards.

First up was Ghanaian gloveman Razak Brimah, who saw his effort saved by Barry, and the veteran Elephants keeper then stood up to fire home his effort to win the title for his country.

However, Barry's moment of triumph was slightly soured by the reaction to his bizarre antics throughout the marathon shoot-out, which earned him a booking.

On several occasions the 35-year-old fell to the ground complaining of cramp and other injuries, only to rise to his feet again when it was his turn to face the spot kick. Most dramatic was his collapse after saving from his opposite number.

Barry appeared to complain of a wrist injury as well as cramp as he lay on the floor following his save. It meant that Razak was forced to wait several minutes before facing Barry's decisive penalty.

What a guy Boubacar Barry is play acting to the max then just slots the winner in #AFCON2015FINAL

— Damian Dashti (@drizzydash) February 8, 2015

Boubacar Barry is going for the Djokovic here

— Michael Cox (@Zonal_Marking) February 8, 2015

Earlier several Ghanaian players took issue with his theatrics, Andre Ayew in particular let Barry know what he thought of his behaviour after being made to wait to take his spot kick. His angry reaction did not deter Barry, who tried to hug the Ghanaian and then bizarrely attempted to join in an embrace between Ayew and his own keeper, Razak.

Eurosport describes Barry as "the hero, and villain, of a remarkable penalty shoot-out".

And he was responsible for some "amazing play-acting" reports SB Nation. When he first collapsed it appeared his injury was "entirely legitimate" and by the time he had saved from Razak "it still wasn't clear if he was genuinely injured". But what happened provided a clue. "Barry stepped up, struck a perfect penalty and sprinted into the corner to celebrate with the fans. That magic spray really is magic after all."

But the 35-year-old deserves his time in the spotlight after a career blighted by misfortune, says Jonathan Wilson in the Daily Telegraph. He may only have been in the team because of an injury to regular keeper Sylvain Gbohouo but "this was the night on which the clown became the king". 

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