Elephants squash Squirrels 4-1

Ivory Coast are first through to the quarter-finals after an easy win over Benin.

    Ivory Coast’s Didier Drogba, centre, opened the scoring as he outpaced the Benin defence [AFP] 

    Sweden-based Razack Omotoyossi scored a stoppage-time consolation goal for the 'Squirrels' at Essipong Stadium in the south-western Ghanaian town.

    "The Ivory Coast were simply stronger," said Reinhard Fabisch, Benin coach.
     
    "They have players who can pounce on the slightest mistake, immediately, like Drogba."
     

    " ...we have a tough match to come, especially as my wife is from Mali!"

    Didier Drogba,
    Ivory Coast striker

    Ivory Coast's win maintained their 100 per cent record after a 1-0 victory over Nigeria last Monday, and they are the first qualifiers for the quarter-finals as the Super Eagles failed to defeat Mali late on Friday.
     
    However success may have come at a high price for the 1992 champions as Arsenal defender Kolo Toure was stretchered off in first-half stoppage time with a suspected groin injury.
     
    Forecasts of a mismatch did not take long to materialise as the minnows came under pressure with defender Damien Chrysostome shown a yellow card and goalkeeper Rachad Chitou flapping at a free kick early on.
     
    This was the signal for an Ivorian onslaught with Chitou foiling Drogba twice before the reigning African Footballer of the Year broke the deadlock after 40 minutes, bursting between two defenders before steering a beautiful Yaya Toure pass wide of Chitou.
     
    Drogba in everything
     


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    The west Africa giants scored again one minute before the break when Kolo Toure picked up a deep corner, passed two defenders and crossed low to the younger Yaya Toure, who scored a simple tap-in.
     
    Benin posed an early second half threat, but Ivorian goalkeeper Boubacar Barry spoiled any sort of comeback attempt by diving to his right and pushing away a drive from captain Oumar Tchomogo.
     
    Ivory Coast went 3-0 up after 53 minutes when Chrysostome was caught napping and dispossessed by Drogba, who sent Keita through to fire wide of Chitou into the far corner.
     
    Dindane made it 4-0 midway thorugh the second half as Drogba flicked a corner back into the heart of the goalmouth and the France-based striker glanced a header into the net, before Omotoyossi scored for Benin one minute into injury time.
     
    "The game was tough but we made it easier by scoring the first goal," Drogba said.
     
    "Of course I'm happy to score the first goal.
     
    "We've taken a step towards the quarter-finals, but we have a tough match to come, especially as my wife is from Mali!"
     
    Ivory Coast face Mali in their final group match on Tuesday, while Benin will play Nigeria on the same day.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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