A goal each from Russian Premier League top scorer Seydou Doumbia and Bony Wilfried of Vitesse Arnhem powered Cote d’Ivoire past Mali during their friendly match played at the Saint-Leu-la-Foret Municipal Stadium near Paris, France on Sunday, which both teams used as a build up to the 2014 Fifa World Cup qualifying set to begin next week.
The France football federation earlier annulled the encounter because organisers did not apply for permission within the deadlines fixed by Fifa, however, negotiations eventually came to fruition and the west African sides were allowed to stage their clash.
The Elephants brilliantly controlled the game and maintained their domination during both halves, with the Malians struggling to fend off an avalanche of assaults.
Seydou Doumbia, who was exhibiting his best performance so far with the outfit, put the Ivorians in the lead after 22 minutes followed by a second from Bony Wilfried nine minutes after the break, to completely tame the Eagles who could no longer cross into the area of the opposite team.
However, Barcelona midfielder Seydou Keita, who was leading the set up in the absence of captain Cedric Kante, marshalled a couple of offensives, resulting in a penalty which he successfully converted in the 74th minute to raise hopes for an eventual equalizer, but the 2-1 score remained intact until the final whistle.
Cote d’Ivoire will play host to Tanzania on June 2 and face Morocco on June 9, while Mali will play Benin in Cotonou on June 3 and host Algeria a week later.