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Friday, January 15, 2010

Ivory Coast beat Ghana 3-1 to qualify for quarter finals

The Elephants of Ivory Coast have secured the first quarter final slot in the ongoing Nations Cup tournament, humbling neighbors and rivals Ghana 3-1.

Gervinho started the sweet Ivorian revenge in the first half with a cool tap into an empty net after a swift counter which left the Ghanaian defence napping and Richard Kinston completely beaten.

A stunning free-kick by Tiene and a wonderful header by Didier Drogba in the second half ensured that a late penalty kick by Asamoah Gyan was nothing more than a consolation.

The Ivorians had two things on their minds; revenge for a 4-2 defeat against Ghana in the last Nations Cup held in Ghana and most important of all a slot in the quarter finals stage of the competition- they did not compromise on any of them.

The more experienced Ivorians looked pretty much in control in the opening embers of the game whilst the Stars, woefully depleted by injuries started with six Nations Cup debutants and it was all glaring. They looked nervy in the opening exchanges as Didier Zokora plundered in on few occasions to dispatch some bullets which created some problems for Kingston.

The Ghanaian goalkeeper was left completely exposed in the 23rd minute when the Ivorians advertised a swift counter attack which saw Gervinho coolly finishing off a selfless pass by Salomon Kalou.

It was the Ghanaians who started the attack from the right with Samuel Inkoom making a marauding incursion on the right and setting up Opoku Agyemang in the process, but his feeble shot took a ricochet of Mathew Amoah and the defensive clearance from Tiene fell to Gervinho who then wrecked havoc in the process.

Two minutes after, Kalou breached the Ghanaian defence with a lovely through ball to Drogba but Isaac Vorsah stood on his feet shoving Drogba and gaining possession.

The Stars then lifted up their game, with Kwodwo Asamoah beginning to stamp his authority on the game and some superb runs by Opoku Agyemang on the flanks , but in truth, Barry was barely tested.

In the 39th minute however, Kwodwo Asamoah made an audacious turn and fired a rocket which was parried away by Barry.

All this while, the Stars attack marshaled by Mathew Amoah had been isolated with some speculative and inexperienced shots from Agyemang Badu and Dede Ayew.

Coach Milovan Rajevac then brought in Chelsea Star Essien and Asamoah Gyan for Moussa Narry and Dede Ayew to start the second half.

The Black Stars looked more determined with Opoku causing lots of problems for Eboue but his crosses went too deep.

The Arsenal star was sent off by South African referee Jerome for a silly-reckless challenge on Opoku Agyemang in the 55th minute forcing the Ivorian’s to make a tactical switch. Gemel, a defender came in for Gervinho.

The Stars looked like taking advantage of their numerical strength but a stunning left foot screamer by Tiene in the 67th minute from 32 yards dashed any hope for a comeback.

Rajevac made another surprise switch taking out Opoku Agyemang who was easily Ghana’s best player in the game and brought on Harrison Afful who was totally anonymous in the game.

In the 88th minute Drogba towered above Eric Addo and Vorsah to head home a teasing cross from Keita who just outwitted Inkoom and Afful on the left.

Deep into added time Asamoah Gyan was awarded a penalty when Bamba shoved the Renne star in the vital area. Gyan kept his nerve and shot well but his goal was a mere consolation.

The Stars now have a must win match against Burkina in the final Group B match to played in Luanda.

Source: Nathan Gadugah/myjoyonline.com/Ghana

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