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Ivorians endure Senegal scare to go through
11-17-2013
           
 
Cote d’Ivoire booked their place at the 2014 FIFA World Cup after a 1-1 draw with Senegal on Saturday in Casablanca.

Salomon Kalou equalized in added-on time canceling out Moussa Sow’s 76th minute opener allowing the Ivorians to go through 4-2 on aggregate.

It is the third time the Elephants have qualified for the showpiece global event after 2006 (Germany) and 2010 (South Africa). However, they had to survive the countless attacks of the Senegalese to clinch their ticket for next year’s tournament in Brazil.

Despite playing away from home, the Teranga Lions, who needed at least a 2-0 win to go through outplayed their opponents in every department. But they failed to make their dominance count on the score cards.

Ivorian goalie Barry Boubacar was his side’s hero pulling off superb saves in both halves to deny the Senegalese, whose midfielder Sadio Mane, of Austrian side, Red Bull Salzburg, stood out.

Senegal got off well by taking advantage of the midfield with Sadio Mane, Idrissa Gueye and Lamine Sane having the better of Yaya Toure, Koffi Ndri Romaric and Jean-Jacques Gosso Gosso. The absence of Newcastle United midfielder, Cheikh Tiote through suspension, was telling in the play of the Ivorians as Romaric and Gosso Gosso failed to make up for the void.

On 19 minutes, Barry palmed away Ndoye’s shot from a free-kick to ensure the first half finished barren. Earlier, Romaric had blasted wide from a similar spot at the opposite end after Gervinho was fouled by his marker.

The second half was no different as the Teranga Lions forced the Ivorians into their half with consistent raids upfront led by Mane and Sane. Three minutes from recess, Barry saved with his feet a Papiss Cisse goalbound shot after the latter had schemed past the Ivorian rear.

The hosts pressed on and it was only a matter of time that the opener would come. It did come on 76 minutes courtesy a spot kick after Ivorian captain Didier Drogba fouled Mane in the penalty area. Sow, who had replaced Ndoye nine minutes earlier tucked in from the spot beating Barry for the first time in the game.

At that time, Senegal needed just a second goal to go through and they terrorized the Ivorian defence in their quest for the winning goal. Sensing danger, even Drogba, Kalou and Toure had to join the likes of Kolo Toure, Souleymane Bamba, Didier Zokora and Serge Aurier to contain the Senegalese.

At the death of the game, Barry parried out from a goalmouth melee to dash the hopes of the Teranga Lions. During a counter attack in added-on time, Toure squared Kalou, who shot past Senegal goalie Bouna Coundoul to give his side a lifeline.

Moments after the equalizer, referee Haimodi Djamel brought proceedings to an end, and the Ivorian players and officials went wide after sealing their third successive qualification for the Mundial.
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