Côte d'Ivoire advance to Africa Cup of Nations
Côte d’Ivoire qualified for the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations on Saturday night with a 1-1 draw against Sierra Leone.
The defending champions went into the final Group I qualifier in Bouaké needing a draw to advance to the competition in Gabon in January. The hosts took the lead through Jonathan Kodjia’s spectacular bicycle kick from the edge of the penalty area.
The 26-year-old Aston Villa striker was mobbed by his teammates and the coaching staff following the strike.
But Michel Dussuyer’s men failed to capitalise on their advantage and they were pegged back midway through the second-half when Al-Hadji Kamara headed past the Ivorian keeper Sylvain Gbouhou.
There were a few nervous moments for the partisans in the dying stages but the champions held firm to secure their berth.
The stalemate means that Côte d’Ivoire progress to their seventh consecutive Africa Cup of Nations and avoid the fate of Nigeria who won the 2013 competition in South Africa but failed to qualify for the 2015 tournament in Equatorial Guinea nor the forthcoming finals in Gabon.
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