Elephants trample over Stallions to seal quarters place
Cote d’Ivoire joined co-hosts Equatorial Guinea at the last eight of the 2012 Orange Africa Cup of Nations after a 2-0 win over Burkina Faso o Thursday in Malabo.
Whilst the 1992 champions are certain of a place at the knockout stage of the competition courtesy the result, it leaves the Burkinabes crashing, being their second successive loss.
Chelsea forward Salomon Kalou gave the Ivorians the lead on 16 minutes before an own-goal by Bakary Kone ensured the Elephants live up to their billing of pre-tournament favourites.
Though not a very remarkable performance from the Didier Drogba-led side, they did the most important thing by ensuring the maximum points remained in their custody.
Interestingly, it was Burkina Faso, who made the first attempt at goal as early as the fifth minute but Jonathan Pitroipa appeared to have been impeded in the penalty area. The return of Didier Zokora at the heart of the Ivorian backline brought balance at the back but they were consistently troubled by Pitroipa, who remained a nuisance throughout the game.
During one of their early raids into the half of the Stallions, Kalou latched onto a pass from long pass from Yaya Toure before volleying past Burkina Faso goalie Daouda Diakite for the opener.
In response, youngster Alain Traore was gifted with chances minutes later but his efforts were no problems for Ivorian gaolie Barry Boubacar. Drogba and strike-partner Gervinho made inroads upfront but were not unsuccessful in their quest to increase the tally.
The Ivorians resumed in control but the Burkinabes matched them squarely with Charles Kabore, Mohammed Kere and Nguimbe Nakoulma creating some sleepless nights for their opponents. On three occasions, Traore was unlucky as his final deliveries were no problems for Ivorian goalie Barry.
On 68 minutes, the Ivorians survived yet another attack by the Stallions as captain Moumouni Dagano’s glancing header missed narrowly.
As the Burkinabes fought on, Kone headed in seemingly harmless free-kick by Arthur Boka’s free-kick into his net eight minutes from time to seal victory for the Ivorians.
Cote d’Ivoire leads the pack in Group B with six points, two more than Angola whilst Sudan has one point with Burkina Faso in the order with no point.
HOSTS COUNTRIES OF NEXT CAF COMPETITIONSOrange CAN 2012
REGULATIONS / PUBLICATIONSCAF Statutes