The Elephants had to twice come from behind against a spirited Teranga Lions to ensure they go to Dakar for the return leg next month with little work to do
The Teranga Lions drew the first blood through Dame N’Doye. It took the effort of Lille’s Salomon Kalou to pull level for the Elephants before the interval.
The Ivorians stumbled again after the break when Papiss Cisse made it double for the Senegalese, but their joy was short lived after Gervinho equalised to make it 2-2 to bring the home side back into the game.
Striker Didier Drogba was the next to find his name on the score sheet for the Elephants after slotting home from the spot moments after Jacques Faty fouled Gervinho in the danger zone.
The game ended 4-2 after Max Gradel’s blast deflected into the Senegalese goal post. It could have been five for the Ivorians, but Drogba’s last gasp goal was over ruled.
The Ivorians now have an advantage to qualify for the next edition of the Nations Cup in South Africa and will have little work to do in their second leg fixture in Dakar next month.