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Bullets rule Africa

Sapa-AFP, Sapa-AP | 2012-02-13 01:07:37.0

Stophira Sunzu scored Zambia's ninth penalty of a heart-wrenching shootout last night to give the Chipolopolo (Copper Bullets) an 8-7 victory over Ivory Coast in the Africa Cup of Nations final at the Stade de L'Amitie in Libreville.

The match ended 0-0 after extra time.

Ivory Coast captain and Chelsea striker Didier Drogba wasted a great chance to break the deadlock in normal time on 70 minutes when he blazed over a penalty awarded for an Isaac Chansa push on Gervinho. Zambia skipper Chris Katongo was foiled by the woodwork in the first period of extra time.

Ivorian goalkeeper Boubacar Barry made a superb early save to foil Nathan Sinkala after a corner and a Drogba back heel in the other goalmouth offered Yaya Toure a chance which he fired wide midway through the half.

Ivory Coast coach Francois Zahoui named an unchanged side.

His Zambian counterpart, Herve Renard, recalled Emmanuel Mayuka, attached to Swiss side Young Boys, after his starring role in getting the decisive goal in the 1-0 semifinal win over Ghana.

The Nations Cup wound down as Gabon President Ali Bongo's mother sang for fans at the closing ceremony ahead of the final.

Patience Dabany performed the event's theme tune.

The president watched from the VIP section as his mother entertained the crowd before giant images of the African continent and Gaguie - the tournament's gorilla mascot - were projected onto the pitch. There was fireworks and holograms and Brazil great Pele was also at the stadium.

Fifa president Sepp Blatter earlier presented a pennant to both host countries' presidents, Bongo of Gabon and Equatorial Guinea's Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo.

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