This Wednesday, Sébastien Haller’s Côte d’Ivoire started their CAN with a match against Equatorial Guinea. On a delicate lawn (the same as that of the Algeria match), the Elephants quickly opened the scoring and therefore made it a little easier. It was the former Ligue 1 resident Max-Alain Gradel who found the fault with a superb strike in the skylight of Manuel Sapunga, the Equatorial Guinean goalkeeper (5th). A goal that allowed Kessie’s teammates to gain confidence and initially dominate the meeting.
But Equatorial Guinea is gradually gaining momentum and has posed some concerns for an Ivorian defense that is often late. Rodolfo Bodipo’s men could even have benefited from a penalty after a clumsy hand from Ivorian central Simon Deli that the referee decided not to whistle. The first in a long line of chances for Equatorial Guinea.
Ivory Coast takes the lead of the group
In the second half, Côte d’Ivoire, dominated, was forced to evolve against using the speed of Maxwell Cornet in particular who could have made the break (54th, 61st). Sebastien Haller was never found in the area. And the biggest opportunities have been on the side of the “Nzalang Nacional”. On several occasions, the Equatorial Guinean attackers showed clumsiness in the last gesture or stumbled on a Badra Ali Sangaré, always vigilant (48th, 59th, 61st).
Despite a very interesting performance in this match, the teammates of Iban Salvador, the most active player on the front of the attack, did not manage to return to the score. With this precious victory, the Ivory Coast (which will have framed only twice in this match) takes the lead of group E ahead of Algeria. Equatorial Guinea must imperatively seek a result against the Fennecs to hope to qualify in the next round.