19 June 2014

Cote d'Ivoire: Gervinho Goal Not Enough for Cote d'Ivoire's Elephants

Photo: Gavin Barker/BackpagePix
Wilfried Bony battles for the ball with Colombia's Cristian Zapata.

Africa's poor 2014 World Cup continued as Cote d'Ivoire lost 2-1 to Colombia in their Group C clash in Brasilia on Thursday.

The South American side were good value for their win, though once again the Ivoirians showed good fighting spirit in the second half to run them close.

After a goalless first half, Colombia scored a quick-fire double through James Rodriguez and Juan Quintero, but Gervinho netted a fine solo goal to give the west Africans hope.

Despite having much of the play in the final 15 minutes they were unable to salvage a point though, and will likely have to beat Greece in their final pool game on Tuesday to reach the second round.

Cote d'Ivoire coach Sabri Lamouchi again left veteran forward Didier Drogba on the bench, just as he had in the opening win over Japan.

On that occasion Drogba was introduced just past the hour-mark and changed the game in the Elephants' favour - a feat he could not repeat in this game.

The first half-hour was tight and tense, with both sides reduced to long-range efforts as they battled to find the space to play.

Having said that, Teofilo Gutierrez should have put the Colombians ahead when he found himself one-on-one with Boubacar Barry in the Ivorian goal, but somehow contrived to miss the chance with the goal gaping. It was a huge let-off.

Cote d'Ivoire's best chance came when Artur Boka fired the ball into the feet of Wilfried Bony in the Colombia box, but he failed to make a connection.

Colombia showed more intent in the second half and the Ivorians were given another let-off when Juan Cuadrado's shot from a tight angle was touched onto the crossbar by Barry.

But they got the breakthrough soon afterwards - shortly after the arrival of Drogba onto the pitch.

The goal did not come from an unfamiliar source in Rodriguez, but was a rare headed effort from the Monaco man as he powered Cuadrado's corner past a helpless Barry.

The African side then gifted Colombia a second four minutes later when they lost possession in a dangerous position, and with three men against two in the attack, Gutierrez picked a perfect ball for Quintero to score his first international goal.

To their credit Cote d'Ivoire did not let their heads drop and Gervinho showed great skill to get past three tackles and blast the ball home on 73 minutes.

The Africans did just about all the attacking after that, but could not find a way through the Colombian defence and will now hope for no Greek tragedy on Tuesday.

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