The Elephants once more dominated the Scorpions 3-0, similar to the scenario of the reverse fixture back in March
Cote D’Ivoire defeated Gambia 3-0 on Saturday at the Independence Stadium in Bakau to maintain their pole position in Group C with 10 points.
With the absence of Didier Drogba and Gervinho, who was suspended for bagging two yellow cards, Anzhi Makhachkala forward Lacina Traore and Bony Wilfried were manning the attacking line for the visitors in the first half, with FC Bale midfielder Serey Die, who was enjoying his first cap with the Elephants, supplying most of the valuable assists. However, the star-studded Ivorian team did not produce any formidable showing in the opening exchanges.
Gambia, with one point from three matches, had little to fight for in this encounter and played with lesser pressure than their visitors.
The first goal chance of the meeting fell to the hosts, when Yankuba Ceesay was set up from the left flank, but after cutting into the box aimed too wide. Moments later, they had an another opportunity to stun the Elephants with an opening goal, when Samateh beat two defenders before side stepping Copa Barry but was too sure he had found the net, pushing his effort too softly and hitting the far post, with the ball bouncing back onto the keeper’s gloves.
After a couple of poor attempts Anzhi Makhachkala forward Lacina Traore opened the scoring in the 15th minute after connecting a long cross in the Gambian penalty area and crashing his first attempt against a defender before seizing the ball once more to finish his effort inside the net.
The Gambians genuine goal chance surfaced in 21st minute after Jaiteh outran his marker Authur Boka of Stuttgart before laying for two forwards who were waiting in the box, but neither could connect and convert the loose ball into an empty net.
The home side multiplied till end of first half their misses in front of goal despite an inspiring domination over their visitors.
Vitesse striker Bony Wilfried powered the Elephants’ lead to 2-0 in the 65th minute after breaking out from the left side to open for a long pass from Traore before lunging forward to place his finish to the side of the goalkeeper.
The Scorpions were in ascendancy nearly throughout the second half, but were always failing to deliver a quality final ball to open the scoring, as the Ivorians began to settle more in the defence to negotiate the remaining moments without danger.
Cote D’Ivoire scored their third goal through Yaya Toure, who blasted home a 25-yard free-kick that floated through the top angle of the post inside the net.
The Ivorians now total 10 points and still leaders of Group C ahead of the next match day.