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Rebecca Blackwell, Associated Press
Ivory Coast's captain Didier Drogba cheers toward Ivorian fans at the end of Ivory Coast's African Cup of Nations quarter-final match against Equatorial Guinea, at Malabo Stadium in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea, Saturday, Feb. 4, 2012. Ivory Coast defeated Equatorial Guinea 3-0 to advance to the semifinals.

MALABO, Equatorial Guinea — Equatorial Guinea has finally bowed out of the African Cup of Nations after overcoming a last-minute coaching change and a disrupted buildup to provide some of the tournament's most memorable moments.

Following a stunning qualification to the knockout stage, the tiny co-host came unstuck against cup favorite Ivory Coast as Didier Drogba inspired a 3-0 win in Saturday's quarterfinal.

The loss put an end to the Equatorial Guinea fairy tale, but the dramatic late winning goals to beat Libya and Senegal in the group stage have already entered African Cup folklore.

Coach Gilson Paulo, who took over just a few weeks before the tournament began, says he intends to stay on and thinks the team "could have done more if we had had more time to prepare."