Malabo - An
86th minute strike by substitute Max Gradel gave Cote d’Ivoire a
deserved point as they played to a 1-1 draw against Mali in Group D’s second
round at Estadio de Malabo in Equatorial Guinea on Saturday night.
early as the sixth minute, Bakary Sako managed to give the Malians the lead
with what one could call ‘a goal against the run of play’ and it took the
Elephants 86 minutes to find an equaliser when substitute Max Gradel’s left
footed shot beat substitute goalkeeper Germain Berthe from a wonderful cross by
Eagles found the back through Sako with his left footed finish from the centre
of the box beating the goalkeeper Sylvain Gbohouo, courtesy of a beautiful
cross by Sambou Yatabare.
Renard’s men played better after Mali took the lead and had to play with a
sense of urgency in search of an equaliser. After 20 minutes of play, forward
Seydou Doumbia saw his right footed shot from the centre of the box going wide
to the right.
Eagles were not so effective in their play and were closed down by the likes of
Kolo Toure and Siaka Tiene at the back, and in the 32nd minute
an attempt by Kolo hit the woodwork from a beautiful header assisted by his
brother Yaya with a cross.
was becoming a frustrated man towards the interval as his men kept possession
and surged forward looking to settle the score. However, Mali received an
indirect free-kick after a shocking back pass to Sewe Sport goalkeeper Ghohouo,
but they wasted a chance to double their lead as Bakary Sako’s attempt went
straight to the wall.
first-half ended with Henryk Kasperzcak’s men leading by 1-0 and the second
stanza began on a high with the Ivorians piling on pressure on the Malians, led
by the modest Yaya.
10 to 15 minutes of play in the second half, Tiene’s set piece went for a
goal-kick with a flick from Wilfried Bony. In the 63rd minute,
Bony again displayed a great touch, running off from his marker but his final
shot could not trouble keeper Diakite.
less than 15 minutes to go, Ghobouo fumbled with a cross but luckily for him
Serge Kanon came to his rescue with a convincing clearance.
the 86th minute, substitute Gradel met a pinpoint cross from
Aurier and he easily tapped it in with his left, giving the keeper Berthe no
few minutes to go, the Ivorians looked like they could steal the match as
substitute Salomon Kalou managed to make an entry into the box but his cross
was dealt with by Mustapha Yatabare.
result leave both sides with two points in the group and it remains wide open as
the result from the Cameroon and Guinea match could determine who progresses
through to the next round.