The Elephants brushed the Taifa Stars aside in a convincing win without completely satisfying local fans and punditsm who were expecting a high-scoring affair in Abidjan
Ranked 15th by Fifa, the Elephants were facing a team placed 145th on the world table, but the visitors stunned many by standing up against the Ivorian challenge marshalled by Didier Drogba, Kolo Toure, Chieck Tiote and Gervinho.
Salomon Kalou put the home side in the lead nine minutes into the game after finding a breach in the Tanzanian area during a goalmouth scramble.
However, the visitors remained unperturbed and kept disorganising the Ivorians with their two-to-one attacking style, which kept the hosts’ attacking line unproductive for the rest of the first half.
With the score still at 1-0 after the hour mark and the Taifa Stars still holding their ground, coach Sabri Lamouchi brought in Hannover’s Ya Konan Didier and Kader Keita of Al Sadd to spice up the frontline, which paid off immediately after Keita sharply set up Drogba from the left edge of the Tanzanian box. The Ivorian captain escaped his marker and hit the back of the net to double the lead for his side.
Tanzania’s Ambross Aggrey Morris was shown a red card for pulling down an Ivorian striker, compounding issues for the visitors, who could not alter the scoreline in their favour until the end of the meeting.
Cote d’Ivoire will play Morocco in Marrakech on June 9 while Tanzania will host Group C’s fourth member Gambia in Dar es Salaam on June 10.