Austria 0-3 Cote D’Ivoire: The Elephants crush Das Team in a sharp style
Cote D’Ivoire took their revenge on Austria on Wednesday in Linz, with Didier Drogba, Ya Konan and Traore Lacina hitting one each to strike out their 2007 2-3 loss in Innsbruck
By Kingsley Kobo
Cote D’Ivoire defeated Austria 3-0 in an international friendly played in the Austrian city of Linz on Wednesday, which was part of the Elephants’ groundwork for the forthcoming Africa Cup of Nations, while the Das Team used the exercise as build up to the 2014 Fifa World Cup qualifying set to resume next March.
The outcome is good news for coach Sabri Lamouchi, who is yet to lose a single match since he took over from Francois Zahoui last May, despite unfaltering criticisms from local pundits that he lacks the required experience to lead the continent’s number team.
The Frenchman of Tunisian descent kept most of his veteran stars on the bench during first half, fielding the likes of Traore Lacina of Anzhi Makhatchkala, Hanover’s YA Konan Didier and Gradel Max, who don’t normally make his starting line up.
Marcel Koller knew he had a tough task on hand despite the warm support from thousands of home fans, but his major problem was his side’s inferior individual quality when juxtaposed with the star-studded and experienced West Africans, who quickly seized the midfield to hinder incursions from the home side, despite the absence of Manchester City’s Yaya Toure, who normally does this job for the Elephants.
The Austrian players were perfect in ball possession and distribution during much of the first half but their sloppy finishing spoilt most of their goal chances and not really a sound defending from the Ivorians, who committed countless blunders in their back half, which the hosts awfully failed to capitalise on.
Koller’s men were able to force a number of fine saves from the Ivorian goalkeeper Barry Copa through on target free kicks, but falling short of opening the scoring, which turned the visitors’ way in the 44th minute when Stuttgart defender Boka Arthur linked well with Gradel, who centred for Ya Konan from the left flank, and with enough space around the Hanover midfielder, he jinked safely into the box area and knocked his effort successfully inside the net.
The Ivorians grew wilder after Didier Drogba and Yaya Toure were thrown into the fray, picking two more goals through the former Chelsea talisman and Anzhi’s Lacina respectively by the hour mark and in the last quarter.
Despite the three-goal drubbing handed the Das Team, the Elephants still need to recondition their defence ahead of the South Africa 2013, where they will facing familiar teams like Togo, Algeria and Tunisia in the group phase.
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