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Ivory Coast progress as Ghana disappoint

January 16, 2010

Didier Drogba celebrates scoring Ivory Coast's third - BBC

Ivory Coast 3 Ghana 1
Eastadio Chimandela, Cabinda
African Cup of Nations Group B
15th January 2010

After a frustrating goalless draw with Burkina Faso on Monday, it looked as if Cote D’Ivoire were on the brink of elimination in this three-team group. A defeat to Ghana yesterday would have left them relying on the Black Stars beating Burkina Faso in the final group game.

But it was so simple in the end, despite the Coast taking the tournament’s first red card. A swift move down the right involving Salomon Kalou led to a tap-in for Gervinho midway through the opening half and the pre-tournament favourites were away.

Tiene’s superb free kick midway though the second effectively sealed the victory, and ensured a more comfortable end to the game than expected, coming ten minutes after Emmanuel Eboue had been sent off for a poor challenge on Agyemang Opoku. Tiene’s left-footed shot dipped just under the bar – goalkeeper Richard Kingson had a good view of it but failed to get across in time.

Ghana had come close immediately after the sending off; the goal gave their opponents a decent cushion after Matthew Amoah had struck the post.

The win was sealed when Didier Drogba opened his account with a header from a Kader Keita cross as the clock reached 90 minutes, and there was time for a consolation penalty, struck confidently home by Asamoah Gyan. Elephants boss Vahid Halilhodzic was angry with the – ultimately irrelevant -penalty decision and later criticised Jerome Damon’s refereeing performance, but he can be pleased with how his experienced side reacted to Monday’s disappointment with a solid performance, particularly in midfield.

Ghana must now beat a well-organised Burkina Faso side to go through with Ivory Coast. If Monday’s game is anything to go by chances will be at a premium – the Black Stars will almos certainly have to be more clinical than they were yesterday.

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