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Football

Cote d'Ivoire edge past Mali to reach last eight at Africa Cup of Nations

Wilfred Zaha scored Cote d'Ivoire's winner against Mali.
Wilfred Zaha scored Cote d'Ivoire's winner against Mali. RFI/Pierre René-Worms

Cote d’Ivoire moved into the last eight on Monday night following a 1-0 win over Mali in Suez. Wilfrid Zaha scored the only goal of the game 14 minutes from time.

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It was rather old school. Cote d’Ivoire goalkeeper Sylvain Gbohouo walloped the ball upfield, Jonathan Kodjia headed it on and Wilfred Zaha ran on and slotted it past the on-rushing Mali goalkeeper Djigui Diarra.

Such clinical simplicity. If Mali’s forward had displayed a fraction of that efficiency, they would have been out of sight by half-time

Abdoulaye Diaby was the first to misplace his finish after dribbling past a couple of defenders into the box. Moussa Marega also squandered a good chance just before half-time.

Reprieved, the Ivorians started the second period with more verve and adventure. Kodjia went close before turning provider for Zaha to separate the sides.

Wasteful

“The Malians beat themselves,” said RFI Africa Cup of Nations analyst Joseph-Antoine Bell. “The didn’t score when they dominated and they conceded after a defensive error.

"The forwards score regularly with their clubs. They’ve come to the competition and not done the same thing. It’s not as if they were being asked to do something they don’t know how to do.”

Cote d’Ivoire will face Algeria on 11 July in Suez for a place in the semi-final.

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