Kigali - Ivory Coast clinched third place at the ongoing Chan 2016 following a 2-1 win over Guinea on Sunday afternoon at Amahoro Stadium in Kigali.
Goalkeeper Abdoul Karim Cisse was the hero of the day after he saved two penalties to deny the Sylis who are participating in the biennial tournament exclusive to players who feature in their domestic leagues for the very first time.
Abdoulaye Samake was brought down in the penalty box in the 25th minute by Ivory Coast goalkeeper Abdoul Karim Cisse who was booked for the foul before he dived to the right to save Ibrahima Sory Sankhon’s attempt.
Ivory Coast gained confidence after this, creating chances on the flanks with Junior Hemann Atcho Djobo cutting into the box from the right but defender Alseny Camara was alert enough to stop him from poising a challenge.
It was however a blunder from the Guinean defense that gifted the Ivorians the lead in the 31st minute when goalkeeper Abdoul Aziz Keita failed to get a hold of a back pass.
The Elephants used this momentum to build on and three minutes later Badie Gbagnon doubled the lead for Michel Dussuyer’s side after brilliant build up by Essis Baudelaire Fulgence Aka and Djobo.
Guinea, who have displayed a never-give-up attitude throughout the tournament, sought to pull one back when substitute Aboubacar Kile Bangoura set up Aboubacar Sylla but the latter’s attempt went above the crossbar for a goal kick.
In the second half, Ivory Coast looked to kill the game off as early as possible and in the 48th minute, Koffi Davy Mahinde Boua beat the Guinean defense but Keita quickly came off his line to the rescue.
Guinea found their feet in the game and created several chances as they mounted pressure on the Ivorians orchestrated by substitutes Mohamed Thiam and Boniface Haba who had been introduced early into the second half.
Haba sent a great through pass in the box to Kile who had only Cisse to beat but the latter was quick to pick up the ball as Ivory Coast survived a scare.
In the 63rd minute, Guinea were awarded another penalty after Haba was brought down in the box but once again Cisse saved the day as he dived to the right to deny Camara.
Thiam came close with a long-range pass from outside the penalty box but it went wide off the post in the 81st minute.
Five minutes later, Aboubacar Leo Camara pulled one back for the Sylis who then sought an equalizer but the Elephants held on to win the game.
This is Ivory Coast’s highest finish at Chan having failed to make it out of the group stages on two occasions in 2009 at home and 2011 in Sudan.