Ghana breezed into the final of the African Nations Cup after a 3-0 victory over hosts Equatorial Guinea in Malabo on Thursday in a game that had to be halted for over 30 minutes due to violence.
But the match will be remembered for the ugly scenes instigated by the home players and fans, which included the Ghana players needing a police escort to leave the field at halftime as missiles rained from the stands.
The Equatorial Guinea players did their best to ignite those frustrations in the stands, as they first put in an inept performance and then tried to win free kicks with play-acting.
Jordan and Andre Ayew both scored either side of a Mubarak Wakaso strike as Ghana showed their class and had far too much quality for the out-gunned hosts.
They now set up a final meeting with the Elephants on Sunday, a repeat of the 1992 decider when Cote d’Ivoire triumphed 11-10 on penalties after a 0-0 draw.
Equatorial Guinea knew they would battle to contain the pacey Ghanaians and so resorted to gamesmanship and intimidation that was ugly to watch, but had little material effect on the game. They now go into Saturday’s third-place play-off against DR Congo.
The first half had plenty of huff and puff but little in the way of quality and looked to be heading for a stalemate at the break.
But Ghana were given a clear penalty when home goalkeeper Felipe Ovono rushed off his line and clattered into the on-rushing Kwesi Appiah. Ovono was fortunate to see the colour of the card was yellow.
Jordon Ayew kept his cool to calmly slot the penalty.
And the Black Stars grabbed another in first half injury-time as they showed their pace to break through Christian Atsu. His ball in the box found Wakaso and the forward cut inside before unleashing a powerful left-footed shot.
The riot police in the stadium had to protect the Ghanaians as they left the field, one of a number of ugly scenes in the game.
Ghana were always in control of the second half – Equatorial Guinea only had one shot on goal all game – and sealed the victory with a third goal 15 minutes from the end.
Appiah was the provider this time as his square-ball picked out Andre Ayew in the box and the Marseille forward was left with a simple-tap-in to score.
The game was halted on 82 minutes when Ghana fans moved to the side of the pitch having been pelted from both sides in the stands as their Equatorial Guinea counterparts rained bottles and other debris down on them.
It took 34 minutes for play to resume and when it did, the referee played only three minutes of injury-time as the other eight minutes left on the clock disappeared.