Cote d’Ivoire are one win away from securing their first Africa Nations Cup title in 23 years after they made it to the final with victory over Democratic Republic of Congo in Bata.
Yaya Toure, probably playing his last AFCON tournament, opened the scoring for The Elephants with a thunderous 20-yard shot in the 20th minute, his first goal in this year’s masterpiece. However, Dieumerci Mbokani hit the equalizer barely five minutes later from the penalty spot, the goal putting him in contention for the golden boot award.
Herve Renard’s side however saw their quality carry the day with Gervinho’s 41st minute strike, his second in the competition, giving them a 2-1 half time lead. Dutch Eredivisie-based Wilfried Kanon all but extinguished the Diables Rouges’ hopes of a first final appearance since their 1972 triumph with a third goal in the 68th minute.
The 3-1 win puts The Elephants on course to winning their first title since 1992. They have now reached the final in three of the last six Cup of Nations tournaments. They lost 4-2 to Egypt on post-match penalties in 2006 before lightning struck them twice in 2012 when they were beaten 8-7 on penalties by Zambia’s Chipolopolo.
Ivory Coast will now take on either Ghana or hosts Equatorial Guinea in the final in what will perhaps be the last chance for their ‘golden generation’ to put some trophy in the cabinet and hang a continental winners’ medal around their neck.
Their celebrations at the final whistle showed just how relieve the squad are to make it to the final. The Elephants would fancy their chances against Equatorial Guinea than Ghana. The Black Stars, just like their French-speaking West Africans have been getting better as the competition wears on, both having had a non-convincing start to their 2-015 campaign.
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