AFCON

Zaha sends Ivory Coast into AFCON quarter-finals

2019-07-08 20:29
AFCON trophy,afcon
The CAF Africa Cup of Nations trophy (Gallo Images)

Suez - Wilfried Zaha grabbed the only goal to settle a disappointing Africa Cup of Nations last-16 clash as Ivory Coast beat Mali 1-0 in Suez on Monday. 

Crystal Palace winger Zaha ensured the Ivorians remained unbeaten against Mali at the tournament as he squeezed home on 76 minutes to book a quarter-final showdown with Algeria. 

However, the 2015 champions will need to perform much better if they aspire to a second title in four years as Ivory Coast's talented attack of Zaha, Nicolas Pepe and Jonathan Kodjia largely failed to fire. 

"We're going to enjoy our victory, it wasn't easy against a good Mali team," said Ivory Coast boss Ibrahim Kamara.

"We had a pretty difficult first half where we couldn't get it going. We let the storm pass and were able to make the most of our key moments."

The in-demand Pepe returned for the Elephants after sitting out the 4-1 win over Namibia along with Kodjia, while Mali recalled a host of regulars having rested key players after qualifying from their group with a game to spare.

Mali advanced as joint top scorers in the group stage with six goals alongside Algeria and had the Ivorians in trouble early here, although Lassana Coulibaly lost his footing after Moussa Marega attempted to square.

Sylvain Gbohouo had a lucky escape when he flapped at a corner with Abdoulay Diaby stabbing over before the Ivory Coast goalkeeper tipped behind his curling free-kick.

Mali were seeking a first victory over their fellow west Africans at the Cup of Nations after three losses and a draw, but Southampton recruit Moussa Djenepo stumbled as he bore in on goal at start of the second half.

Kodjia was denied at the other end as Djigui Diarra turned the Aston Villa forward's shot wide with his legs and an ineffective Pepe was withdrawn on 68 minutes.

Zaha made the breakthrough with a quarter of an hour remaining when Gbohouo's hopeful ball upfield skipped past a static Mali defence all the way through to the Arsenal target who snuck the ball past Diarra. 

Adama Traore created a late chance as Mali sought to send the game to extra time but his stinging drive was kept out by Gbohouo.

"We managed the game perfectly and created loads of chances but lacked a finisher today," rued Mali coach Mohamed Magassouba. 

"It was a bad day for us. The only chance they had they put it away. I wouldn't even say it was chance, more an opportunist attacker."

Read more on:    ivory coast  |  mali  |  afcon 2019  |  wilfried zaha  |  soccer

 

Read News24’s Comments Policy

Fixtures
Wednesday, 17 July 2019
Tunisia v Nigeria, Al-Salam Stadium 21:00
Friday, 19 July 2019
Senegal v Algeria, Cairo International Stadium 21:00
Logs
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Previous Results

Date Home Team Result Away Team
Vote

How far will Bafana Bafana progress in this year’s AFCON tournament?

 
 
Men
Women
Love 2 Meet
Sport24 on Twitter

Follow Sport24 news on Twitter

Featured

The 2018/19 Absa Premiership season is in full swing. Will Mamelodi Sundowns retain their title? Or can one of Kaizer Chiefs, Orlando Pirates, Wits, SuperSport United - or another team perhaps - snatch glory from the Brazilians? Be sure to visit Sport24 for all the latest news!

Latest blogs
 

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

 
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.