By Anye Nde Nsoh
Sports Writer kick442.com Cameroon
The Elephants of Ivory Coast have secured a first three point in Group E in a their first game of AFCON 2021, beating the National Thunder of Equatorial Guinea 1#0.
Max Alain Gradel’s strike secured all three points for his side during the early minutes of the first segment of the game.
Amazing kick-off from both sides after Mauritanian Referee Redouane Jiyed gave a go-ahead. Both teams enjoyed the first 270 minutes of the game understanding Japoma’s turf and opponent’s play style.
Desperate Ivory Coast prove her ambition for victory correcting the mistakes of National Thunder of Equatorial, from a loose ball, captain Max Alain Gradel gave the Elephants the lead with a hard right footed strike, four minutes into play time.
Once again, the Ivorians made use of Equator Guineans loopholes, picking a dead ball from the left flank of the field, converted to a cross in Ibrahim Sangare went head high but wasted the chance.
Equatorial Guinea then gain possession struggled not for long, several strikes and headers on target, goals did not come by. The tussle and hustle for more goals ended the first segment 1#0 for Ivory Coast.
Upon return from break, a promising second half it seemed for the National Thunder of Equatorial Guinea, unfortunately things did not go as planned. Beautiful combinations but Ivan Edu Salvador led his team down in a wayward finishing within five minutes of play.
63 minutes Another golden opportunity came knocking for team Equatorial Guinea, a long one sent upfront to Emilio Nsue Lopez who sent it into the waiting hands of goalkeeper Badra Ali Sangare.
Longing for Equalizer, Dorian Junior substituted for Nlavo Asue.
Coach Patrice Beaumelle made three tactical changes substituting Frank Kessie, Albert Cornet and Max Alain Gradel for Die Serey, Wilfried Zaha and Nicolas Pepe.
Newly substituted Nicolas Pepe and Wilfred Zaha had chances to increase scoreline for the Ivorians but all two attempts fell off.
Ivory Coast 1#0 Equatorial Guinea
⚽Max Alain Gradel
Ivory Coast now leads Group E with three points followed by Algeria and Sierra Leone a point each and Equatorial Guinea is yet to record a point.
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