Les Elephants of Ivory Coast have eased into the quarter-finals after crushing hapless Tunisia 3-0 in Rustenburg on Saturday, even though their talismanic captain veteran Didier Drogba watched from the bench for most of the game.
The Elephants, who led 1-0 at half-time, took the lead in the 21st minute after a one-two combination between Gervinho and Lacina Traoré handed the former a scoring chance. The misfiring Arsenal striker did not miss this time!
An intelligent shot by Yaya Toure in the 87th minute saw Ivory Coast double the lead and control the game despite some pressure from the Eagles of Carthage, who had some chances of their own but were kept at bay by goalkeeper Barry Copa and Leicester City player Souleymane Bamba, who took the place of out-of-form Kolo Toure.
Didier Drogba came on the pitch in the 67th minute but neither his presence nor his absence was felt as his teammates carried on regardless, and at the end however, substitute Didier Ya Konan scored the third and last goal of the game to send the West African nation to the second round, with one game to spare.
After this convincing victory, it is now safe to say that Ivory Coast are indeed the tournament favourites!
In the second game, ‘unlucky’ Algeria were eliminated from the competition by Togo who beat them 2-0 to set a do-or-die battle next week with Tunisia. Captain Emmanuel Adebayor, leading by example, opened the score in the 31st minute after being beautifully set up by Rais M’Bolhi. The referee had to stop the game in the 86th minute after it became clear that the Togo goalpost was about to fall. Fixing it took an eternity but the game resumed nevertheless.
Only a few minutes after the game restarted, substitute Dove Wome then doubled the mark in additional time to send the West African fans and bench into an extreme eruption of joy and belief – a belief they will likely take to their decisive game next week against the Eagles of Carthage.
Algeria dominated the game from top to bottom, but their finishing let them down as they lacked composure upfront and wasted chance after chance.
Photo by AP. Ivorians players celebrating a goal, and indeed their qualification into the quarter-finals of Afcon 2013.