Gradel’s early goal secures Cote D’ Ivoire maximum points in AFCON opener

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AFCON 2021: Groups
AFCON 2021: Groups

Cote D’ Ivoire secured the three maximum points

their opening 2021 AFCON Group E game against Equatorial Guinea on Wednesday at the Japoma Stadium in Cameroon.

It was an error from Carlos Akakpo that gifted Skipper Max Alain Gradel with a perfect goal-scoring chance which he perfectly utilised with a clinical 6th-minute strike.

Gradel has now scored 16 goals out of his 92 appearances for the Elephants of La Côte D’Ivoire.

After the goal, The Elephants made an attack with a beautiful volley into the EquatoGuineans goal area by Franck Kessie which was headed a little wide over the bar by Ibrahim Sangare on the 20th minute.

Equatorial Guinea came close with a perfect strike from Jose Machin after Côte d’Ivoire goalkeeper, Badra Ali Sangare had fisted out a corner kick on the 25th minute.

However, both sides squandered begging chances to end the first half and continued into the second on the same pattern.

Ibrahim Sangare had a perfect chance to put Côte D’Ivoire 2-0 up but he hit his effort wide over Equatorial Guinea’s bar.

Badra Ali Sangare was called to duty on the 36th minute when Equatorial Guinea’s Basilio Nchama cross was pushed away.

A great display of brilliance by Crystal Palace forward, Wilfried Zaha missed Equatorial Guinea’s post by inches on the 90th minutes. Referee Redouane Jiyed signaled for the end of the game with Côte d’Ivoire picking their first group points.

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