NUFC – Tiote Falls at Final Hurdle
Having been the stand out team all tournament, they fell at the final final hurdle.
Ending the tournament without conceding a goal in all six matches (and extra time) they faltered in the most dramatic way possible.
Drogba should have sent them up to the winners podium in normal time but his horrendous penalty soared into Row Z.
Precious few chances in the match and indeed underdogs Zambia came closest to scoring a winner in open play.
So it ended with penalties and who steps up to take the crucial first one? I felt proud and nervous because he was one of ours and was so relieved when he stroked it home full of confidence and self-belief.
There then followed 13 more successes as tension built, only for Ivory Coast to miss their 8th penalty, setting in motion a run of three missed ones, with Zambia finishing it off 8-7 with the 18th spot-kick.
I hope Cheick takes heart from his contribution and his obvious courage and self-belief, unlike Arsenal’s cowardly Gervinho who maybe appropriately missed the fatal 9th Ivory Coast penalty, the bottler waiting until there was only the keeper and one other outfield player as well as him.
How a forward can let 8 team mates go before him beggars belief and I know who I’d want between Tiote and Gervinho in the trenches with me.
Reminds me of supposed hardman Paul Ince who as England captain was happy to let everybody else take the pressure of penalties as he couldn’t even watch.
A strange tournament with the most watchable moments saved till the very last. Our entire focus once our Senegalese strikers decided to come home early to help out at St.James’ Park, was on Tiote and I just hope he comes back determined to make up for his final heartache, of that I have no doubts.
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