AFCON 2023: Ivory Coast off to a winning start

Ivory Coast made a dream start to their AFCON 2023 campaign with a convincing 2-0 win over Guinea Bissau in the opening game of the tournament.

Fantastic start for Ivory Coast

With just four minutes in, Sekou Fofana profited from a poor defensive clearance by Guinea Bissau and held his defender to slot home.

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Photo by Icon Sport

Ivory Coast kept piling the pressure on Guinea Bissau with Fofana the main threat in their attack but Mama Balde had a rare sniff for the Djurtus when he had a sight a goal but elected to go for the spectacular after a decent cross from Marcelo Djallo.

Balde then had another chance in the 28th minute when a tackle on Carlos Mane fortuitously put the ball into his path but with a clear sight of goal, and Diomande breathing down his neck, he scoffed his shot.

The Ivory Coast almost doubled their lead in the 34th minute when Franck Kessie set up Fofana who let fly from 25 yards but Guinea-Bissau goalkeeper Djoco got a fingertip to it and into the bar.

The Ivorians held sway as they went into halftime a goal ahead.

Krasso persistence pays off

After a timid opening to the second half, the match came alive in the 58th minute when another mistake led the Elephants to get the second goal.

Jean Phillipe Krasso's persistence paid dividends after yet another Guinea-Bissau defensive error as he found space in the box to put the Ivorians 2-0 up.

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Photo by Icon Sport

Marcelo Djalo had probably Guinea-Bissau's best chance of the game in the 75th minute but Ivorian goalkeeper Yahia Fofana did well to go down and make the save.

Despite a couple of half chances by Guinea Bissau, they did little to trouble Yahia Fofana as the Ivorians picked their first win of the tournament.

With this result, the Elephants go top of Group A and will face Nigeria in their next game on the 18th of January.

Ivory Coast starters

Yahia Fofana, Ousmane Diomande, Ghislan Konan, Wilfred Singo, Seko Fofana, Franck Kessie, Jonathan Bamba, Jean Phillipe Krasso, Jeremie Boga, Ibrahim Sangare, Obite Evan Ndicka

Guinea Bissau starters

Ouparine Djoco, Falli Cande, Marcelo Djallo, Alfa Semedo, Carlos Mane, Mauro Texeira, Jefferson Encada, Moretobnm Cassama, Mama Balde, Janio Bikel, Opa Sangante

AFCON 2023: Ivory Coast off to a winning start
Andrew Randa

Andrew Randa is a seasoned Africa sports journalist, and a former Media Officer for Nigeria's U-20 national team. He is widely acknowledged as an authority on the NPFL and African football, Randa is esteemed for his expertise in football content creation. Furthermore, he holds the distinction of being Nigeria's foremost sports kit designer and a trailblazer in the realm of sports graphics in Nigeria.