Ivory coast, Morocco move up in African Nations Cup


Sekondi (Ghana) : A moment of individual brilliance by Salomon Kalou gave the Ivory Coast a hard-fought 1-0 victory against Nigeria’s Super Eagles in an African Nations Cup Group B match.

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Both sides, considered favourites in the tournament, disappointed in the first half here Monday, during which Nigeria had the best chance when Taye Taiwo’s free kick smashed against the woodwork.

An inspired substitution by Ivorian coach Gerard Gile, who brought on Lyon’s Abdelkader Keita in the second half, changed the complexion of the game and slowly they gained the upper hand. They were rewarded for their efforts in the 66th minute when Chelsea striker Kalou gave them the goal that separated the two teams.

The Chelsea forward received the ball outside the area, moved around four defenders before slamming the ball into the back of the net past goalkeeper Austin Edije. It proved to be the only goal of the game and has placed the Ivorians well onto the road for the next round.

In the earlier match played Monday in Accra, Soufiane Alloudi was a hat-trick hero for Morocco as they scored a convincing 5-1 victory against Namibia in a Group A match.

Alloudi scored all his three goals in the first half, while Tarik Sektioui and Monsef Zerka added the other. Brian Brendell scored for Namibia.

A paltry crowd of just three hundred saw the North Africans off to a furious start, scoring twice in the opening five minutes. Alloudi opened the scoring in the second minute after being set up by Maroune Chamakh.

Alloudi made it two, just three minutes later, slipping the ball past goalkeeper Abisai Shanangayamwe.

Namibia pulled one back in the 22nd minute when SV Hamburg player Collin Benjamin set up Brendell with a defence splitting pass.

Alloudi got his hat trick in the 28th minute, heading in a cross from Sektioui. Sektioui himself scored Morocco’s fourth in the 39th minute, converting a penalty after Michael Basser was brought down in the area.

The goal rout continued in the 73rd minute when substitute Zerka headed in a corner from Youssef Mokhtari.

The result sees Morocco top the group on goal difference from hosts Ghana, who beat Guinea 2-1 in the opening game Sunday.