Congratulations to team Ivory Coast, winners of the 2016 Philadelphia International Unity Cup! Ivory Coast clinched the tournament with a 1-0 win against Liberia in the championship match at Citizens Bank Park on Saturday, November 5.
A goal by Ivory Coast midfielder Vlandy Slueue in the fifth minute of the game was enough to give Ivory Coast a 1-0 win. While Ivory Coast dominated in the first half, Liberia came back in the second half to control the match.
Liberia entered the championship match with an undefeated record and had the tournament’s top scorer, Anthony Allison. In the second minute of the championship game, Allison almost put Liberia ahead after dribbling past the young Ivorian goalie Boubacar Keita, who recovered to tip the ball over the bar when Allison thought he had scored.
Three minutes later, Ivory Coast was given a free kick 20 yards from the goal. Vlandy Slueue confidently stood over the ball and curved in a beautiful free kick over the wall and at the right bottom post of the goal past Liberia’s goalie Prince Monyan .
With that goal, Ivory Coast continued to pile the pressure on Liberia through Seydou Ba, but the Liberian defense anchored by center-backs Obinna Iloka and Mohammed Mayah held their ground to keep the score to 1-0 at half-time.
It was a different story in the second half, with the introduction of Liberia’s young winger, Tben Donnie. Several times, he weaved through Ivorian players before unleashing powerful shots, but each time, the Ivorian center-backs Joseph Aidoo and Kouassi N’Guessan put their bodies on the line to block the shots from entering the goal. His play kept the fans on their feet, which encouraged Liberia to venture more for the equalizer.
By the hour mark, fans held their breath as a powerful 25-yard free kick from Liberia midfielder Prince Jarbo hit the crossbar, but forward Rockie Kazouh wasn’t quick enough to react to the rebound.
Liberia thought they had equalized in the 89th minute of the game when Kazuoh and goalie Keita went for a cross with the loose ball ending at the back of the net. While the referee was pointing to the center circle for a goal, the assistant referee had his flag up for an adjudged foul on goalie Keita; the goal was disallowed.
The game’s final score remained 1-0, and Ivory Coast celebrated with their fans after a well-fought win. Congratulations to all of the players and coaching staff for both Ivory Coast and Liberia, and to all those who participated in and were involved with the tournament. The championship match was an exciting and competitive end to the inaugural Philadelphia International Unity Cup tournament!
A huge thanks goes out to all of the sponsors for this year’s tournament, including presenting sponsor Goya, as well as all of the partners who helped to make the Unity Cup such a success.
View video highlights from the Championship Game (footage courtesy of Charlie Flowe – World Sports Show)
- Recap adapted from text written by Paul Armah Konneh III.