Ivory Coast boost AFCON chances

2014-11-15 11:51
Kolo Toure (AFP Photo)

Abidjan - Kolo Toure returned to the Ivory Coast team and scored early to set them on their way to a 5-1 win over Sierra Leone on Friday that boosted their chances of qualifying for the African Nations Cup.

Salomon Kalou (2), Max Gradel and Gervinho scored the other goals for the home side in front of a half-filled Felix Houphouet Boigny Stadium.

The Ivorians required a four-goal blitz after the break to make sure of three vital points and are now second in Group D with one match left to play next Wednesday. The top two in the group qualify for the finals.

Toure needed two touches at the back post to convert a cross from Gradel after seven minutes to mark his return to the team after being left out since the World Cup in Brazil.

But Mustapha Bangoura finished off a superb ball-juggling move from Sierra Leone to volley home an equaliser after 25 minutes, before being forced off with injury shortly after.

Kalou then scored four minutes after halftime before Gradel tapped in easily four minutes later.

Gervinho was set up by Lacina Traore for the Ivorians' fourth before Kalou powered his way through the defence for his second in the 73rd minute.

Sierra Leone had to concede home advantage for Friday's tie because of a ban on hosting games due to the outbreak of the Ebola virus in their country. Failure to find a neutral venue meant the match was played in Abidjan.

Sierra Leone's players warmed up in T-shirts with the slogan 'Kick Out Ebola'. They are out of the running for the 2015 finals, which on Friday were moved from Morocco to Equatorial Guinea.

Read more on:    ivory coast  |  kolo toure  |  salomon kalou  |  abidjan  |  soccer

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