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Resolute Burkina Faso frustrate Ivory Coast

January 11, 2010

Ivory Coast 0 Burkina Faso 0
Estadio Chimandela, Cabinda
African Cup of Nations Group B
11th January 2010

Ivory Coast stuttered to a goalless draw with an unfancied Burkina Faso side in Cabinda today as the competition continued to surprise. Tournament favourites Ivory Coast dominated possession but failed to break down the Burkina Faso defence in the opening Group B match, which is now played between just three teams following Togo’s departure.

Even Chelsea's Didier Drogba was unable to inspire the tournament favourites to victory

The Elephants set the tempo early on, and it seemed only a matter of time before they scored against the deep-lying Burkina defence. Emmanuel Eboue had a penalty appeal turned down and replays showed there was minimal contact from Mamadou Tall. Didier Drogba showed glimpses of skill but the Ivorians were largely restricted to long-range efforts. Tiene, Tiote and Eboue all came close to breaking the deadlock for the favourites but the best first half chance fell to Bakari Kone. Drogba set him up with a deft volleyed pass but the Marseille forward saw his shot tipped over by the Stallions goalkeeper Daouda Diakite.

Ivory Coast continued to dominate after the interval but their play lacked the pace of the first half and they became visibly more frustrated as the half wore on. Gervinho and Kone frequently switched flanks but it was to no avail. Burkina Faso finally had a shot after 67 minutes as a Moumouni Dagano free kick from 35-yards out was parried wide by Boubacar Barry.

Within minutes came the best chance of the game. Gervinho pulled the ball back from the byline to set up Kone but he dragged the ball wide from close range. Ivory Coast brought on Salomon Kalou, Aruna Dindane and Kader Keita as they surged forward in the latter stages, with Faso defender Paul Koulibaly particularly impressive in thwarting their attacks. Unbelievably Charles Kabore could have won the game right at the death for Faso, getting space in the box but he scuffed his shot wide.

Ivory Coast again failed to live up to pre-tournament expectations and may need to beat Ghana on Friday to secure qualification, while Burkina Faso also remain in contention.

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