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Atsu suffers penalty agony in AFCoN final

by | 08/02/2015  Comments (33)  jump
Christian Atsu and Ghana went all the way to a penalty shootout in a goalless Africa Cup of Nations final but lost 9-8 on penalties to Ivory Coast.

Everton's on-loan winger was named player of the tournament and was also recognised with the goal of the tournament award for his strike against Guinea but it will likely be scant consolation for a dramatic defeat in the shootout which saw five missed spot kicks before Boubacar Barry scored the decisive sudden-death penalty after Razak Brimah's was saved.

Atsu played all but the last four minutes of extra time but was unable to add to his tally of goals in the competition.  

Reader Comments (33)

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Dave Abrahams
1 Posted 08/02/2015 at 22:04:56
Ghana lost 8-9 on penalties in the final.

Atsu came off after 116 minutes, exhausted, The Guardian made him the best player in the tournament, this was before the final took place.

Ernie Baywood
3 Posted 09/02/2015 at 01:31:08
Player of the tournament can't get a sniff for us?

Something isn't right there.

David Barks
4 Posted 09/02/2015 at 01:43:06
Yeah, Bobby's tactics of loading the starting 11 with defenders and defensive midfielders and never giving this guy a game has been "phenomenal".
Minik Hansen
5 Posted 09/02/2015 at 01:47:57
His return will only be good for us fans, because what do you do with a player that comes back to the club full of games under his belt, in form and named the player of the tournament? It must seriously have serious influence on how Roberto approaches the next few starting line-ups and stick to the best.
John Zapa
6 Posted 09/02/2015 at 06:56:12
Will he get a game when he is back? Not sure he will. At best Roberto will throw him on in the last 3 minutes of a game hoping for a miracle...
Ciaran Duff
7 Posted 09/02/2015 at 07:58:41
Bony missed one of the (first?) Ivory Coast penalties!
Colin Glassar
8 Posted 09/02/2015 at 08:35:00
Sounds like Atsu isn't as bad as we thought, then.
Phil Walling
9 Posted 09/02/2015 at 08:36:47
He is.
Ant Summers
10 Posted 09/02/2015 at 08:38:31
He won't start with him, we know that, unless he has some really bad injuries. He may get a start in the Europa League, but 100% certain he will be back at Chelsea in May. I don't see him as a long term investment for BK. Black and white.
Tom Brown
11 Posted 09/02/2015 at 08:58:55
Whatever he's done elsewhere... his showings on the pitch for Everton have just been nowhere near good enough. Lennon's turn to get a chance now.
Sam Hoare
12 Posted 09/02/2015 at 09:05:40
Atsu, cannot be judged fairly on his showing for Everton at all. The guy has been given a few sporadic starts and mostly 10 min cameos. Very, very few players are going to produce anywhere near their best in such a situation. Just look how Robles has improved with a string of starts.

Plus Atsu has never before played in the Premier League! Anyone who writes him off for his showings in an Everton shirt so far is extremely closed-minded in my book.

What is strange is that Roberto should bring in a young loan player who clearly needs game time to improve and settle and then not give him that time...

Dave Pritchard
13 Posted 09/02/2015 at 09:14:54
This is just another mystery in our crazy season. He has looked awful in the admittedly very few chances he has been given for us yet is player of the tournament, beating people like Toure, Bony etc.
Andrew Ellams
14 Posted 09/02/2015 at 09:04:01
This is a poor tournament and there doesn't seem to have been any great showing from the so-called superstars. They are more interested on getting back to the egofest that is the Champions League.
Murdo Laing
15 Posted 09/02/2015 at 09:19:08
Agree, Sam #13: It is mightily unfair to judge the lad on cameo performances. In the same way, IMO, it is to judge Kone as a CF when all he does is feed off scraps as the shirt "belongs" to Rom.

Atsu was very unlucky to get that hamstring before he went off to ACON, and we need all hands to the pump over the remaining weeks of the season. At least now, with the addition of Lennon, we now have genuine options out wide and Roberto should use them.

Self confidence is important, and if Atsu has had his mojo massaged a bit by his (good) performances for his country, then that can only be a good thing.

Comments on here that Atsu is "crap" are cheap shots. The lad has played at a high level, and Chelsea generally don't sign mugs do they? I am sure all the lad wants to do is be given a start or two to show what he can really do and we should all wish him well in that.

Ian Bonnette
16 Posted 09/02/2015 at 10:03:02
Keep his spirits up and tell him he starts the next 3 games no matter what... then make a decision on him. You can't judge him on what he's done up to now, it's not fair, even though he hasn't showed us much... but confidence is everything.
Dave Abrahams
17 Posted 09/02/2015 at 10:14:51
Phil (#10), come on, give him a break. Oh hang on... Atsu's not from Wigan, is he?
Tom Brown
18 Posted 09/02/2015 at 08:58:55
Whatever he's done elsewhere... his showings on the pitch for Everton have just been nowhere near good enough. Lennon's turn to get a chance now.
Ciaran Duff
19 Posted 09/02/2015 at 10:39:18
Hmm, there are 2 wings on the pitch!
Mike Keating
20 Posted 09/02/2015 at 07:36:09
Is he cover for Lennon and McGeady or the main man?

Given his run of form in the AC of N, seems an odd move to take another winger on loan during the transfer window.

Ernie Baywood
21 Posted 09/02/2015 at 11:14:23
We've come to the conclusion (well I and others had) that he wasn't up to it. Yet, while this doesn't prove he's amazing, it does show that there's something there.

So are we now at the point that we can't fairly judge any Everton player? No-one has had a good season and most have been massively below par.

Hence my "something's not right" comment earlier. Good players all looking shite all season points to big problems. Yet big opportunities if we can fix those problems – as we do have good players.

Alan McGuffog
22 Posted 09/02/2015 at 12:02:39
I assume we have been paying his salary this season? Got me wondering... when I was working, had I appointed someone to a post and then more or less said to them "Keep turning up every day, don't worry we won't want you to do anything except count your brass," I would have had my arse kicked good style. Is there any accountability at this club?
Ajay Gopal
23 Posted 09/02/2015 at 12:07:35
Christian Atsu will be brimming with confidence after the African Nations Cup. He also had a shot crash back from the upright yesterday according to reports and that was the best chance in open play in the entire 120 minutes.

He and Lennon will freshen up the wing play and give serious competition to Mirallas and McGeady. I am pretty sure that Atsu is not cup-tied – so he could play an important role in the Europa as well.

Jon Withey
24 Posted 09/02/2015 at 12:28:02
Can only be good for us.

As Ajay says, we need competition there.

I suppose this is one of the problems of loaning young players - the benefits will often go to the parent club.

I'm sure Atsu will do well somewhere.

Nick Wall
25 Posted 09/02/2015 at 12:17:46
Got a good look at him yesterday. Not everything he did came off. He's not the finished article, and there will be days when he'll frustrate us. But on a day when most of the players were feeling the heat, he was the liveliest attacking player on the pitch, and a couple of times he showed some deft ball skills.

He's been a bit unlucky up to now with injuries and being picked as a sub, but there should be no reason he can't get more game time for us before the end of the season.

Trevor Lynes
26 Posted 09/02/2015 at 12:25:04
Atsu has excellent ball control, great pace and on this tournaments showing he can pick a pass.

Besides his goals he had at least two assists.

It must be difficult for an African coming to the English league but he is the type of player that should not be expected to play to a rigid system.

With his ability he should be given free rein and have at least 30 minutes playing time as the lad is a game changer.

Liverpool brought their wonder kid in for the Derby game and he really shone.

Surely Atsu is worth a few games especially at home against the lower clubs.

If we are playing at Chelsea or the likes it may be better to have more defence minded players but at home he is definitely worth his chance.

If he plays as he did in the African cup he will lift the fans at Goodison

There were many petty fouls on him and the ref was really too fussy but he did shine through !

Spencer Ramsay
27 Posted 09/02/2015 at 13:02:12
I'm hoping that, with Lennon now on board and with Atsu returning in good form, we will not be seeing much of McGeady? In fact, I'm praying that's the case!!
Terry Downes
28 Posted 09/02/2015 at 13:20:51
McGeady is loved at Celtic. Perhaps Roberto could do a swop deal... they must have someone worth having??
Helen Mallon
29 Posted 09/02/2015 at 15:19:24
I promise I won’t, sorry.
Matthew Williams
30 Posted 09/02/2015 at 15:11:09
Totally agree with Sam #13. It always amazes me how quick some fans are to jump on players back. Take Robles, an FA Cup winner with Wigan... young and nowhere near his peak as a player... yet, after a couple of indifferent games: "he isn't good enough", "get rid". Now some fans are saying he should keep Howard out.

Barry has been getting a lot of stick of late yet most fans were keen to keep him after last season, has he really tuned into a bad player in a matter of a few months??

Naismith is a regular now as not being good enough, along with Osman, Pienaar and Kone (which I have always felt was highly unfair).

I just think sometimes fans need to look at the bigger picture. Things like confidence, settling in, fitness, form, not playing in best position – sometimes it can just be something as simple that the player isn't right for the club or vice versa but it doesn't mean that they are bad players.

As for Atsu, as Sam has said, he hasn't had anywhere near enough game time to be judged. He must be in good form now although obviously deflated. Give him some proper game time between now and the end of the season before judging him.

Christopher Wallace
31 Posted 09/02/2015 at 15:39:27

I don't know any Celtic fans that even slightly like McGeady, so I'm not sure where you got that information from?!

If you can get someone up there to swap him for Van Dijk, I'd be happy...

Never happening though.

Terry Downes
32 Posted 09/02/2015 at 16:33:37

I have a few friends in Glasgow and none of them would have a bad word said about him?

Unless they're the only ones?

Craig Walker
33 Posted 10/02/2015 at 08:45:16
From the cameo appearances I have seen of Atsu, he is one of the worst players I have seen in an Everton shirt.
Jim Hardin
34 Posted 10/02/2015 at 14:49:18
The competition at the Cup was not the same as what you face in the EPL. His performances there are not likely to translate but maybe his self-confidence will. Do the fans really expect a line-up with Atsu and Kone and Lennon? Are you trying for relegation? I don't mind a player in for Naismith but Mirallas is better than any of the three. I would probably give Atsu a run out since he is young but to expect Kone or Lennon to do something more than what they have shown in their careers is hopeful or delusional.

Over here we have a saying that a player will always play to his stats on the back of the baseball card which contains his career and season stats. Thus Kone will be Kone: not good enough to keep Wigan up with truckloads of goals (not); and Lennon will be Lennon: inconsistent with only flashes and not stretches of excellence. As role players, that is okay but not as regulars. Only Atsu, who doesn't have career stats at this level, is the unknown and has the upside and potential.

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