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WC Qualification Africa
October 12, 2013
• Stade Félix Houphouët-Boigny, Abidjan
Referee: R. Seechurn
• Attendance: 30000
D. Drogba 5'
L. Sané 14' (own goal)
S. Kalou 49'
P. Cissé 90'+
So, Gervinho stars but Cisse gives Senegal a glimmer of hope. Thanks for joining me, Max Bentley, on this live commentary. Until next time, goodbye.
The footballing fate of both African nations will be decided in the return leg on November 16. The game will take place in Morocco after Senegal were banned from playing home matches for rioting in the African Cup of Nations qualifier against Ivory Coast in October 2012.
FT: Ivory Coast 3-1 Senegal. Papiss Cisse's 95th minute strike gives Senegal a lifeline ahead of the second leg and you can feel the anxiety inside the stadium. The Elephants looked comfortable throughout and Gervinho's brilliance inspired them to victory as he played a large role in all three goals. Sabri Lamouchi's side could perhaps have put the tie beyond doubt but a 2-0 win for Senegal in the return fixture would see the Lions of Teranga through to the World Cup finals for the first time since 2002.
90' + 5'
90' + 5'
3-1! THE LIONS OF TERANGA HAVE A GLIMMER OF HOPE! The Ivory Coast defence fail to deal with a long ball pumped into the box and Papiss Cisse reacts quickest to smash it past Barry who cannot keep it out despite getting a hand to it. How important could that goal prove to be for Senegal?
90' + 4'
Yellow CardG. Serey Die
90' + 4'
Serey Die picks up a late booking as he cynically prevents a Senegal counter attack. Can the Lions of Teranga make this set-piece count?
90' + 2'
Senegal strive to pull one back but Mane's cross from the left is cut out brilliantly by Aurier. They will need to produce a much-improved performance in the return leg if they are to stand any chance of making it to Brazil.
Lacina Traore goes close to a fifth goal in seven internationals as his header glances inches wide of Coundoul's near post following a corner from the right.
Gervinho has been the standout performer on the field today and he receives a brilliant reception from the crowd as he is replaced by Max Gradel for the final minutes.
SO CLOSE TO 4-0! Traore dribbles down the right before his accurate cross picks out Yaya Toure on the edge of the box. The Manchester City maestro takes a touch before bending a shot agonisingly past the post.
Yellow CardCheikh Tiote
Tiote is no stranger to a caution and his trip on N'Doye earns a yellow card from the referee. The Newcastle midfielder vents his despair as he is now suspended for the return leg.
The Senegal defence are afraid to dive into a challenge on Gervinho and he dribbles into the box before picking out Yaya Toure whose first touch again lets him down, meaning that he is dispossessed by the backtracking Gueye.
Saivet whips in a teasing cross from the right but Kouyate is adjudged to have pushed Aurier in the back as his header goes inches past the post.
Injury concern for Senegal here as Souare goes down and requires treatment. It seems that he is suffering from cramp in the closing stages.
Cisse produces a neat piece of skill to keep the ball away from Zokora but he cannot provide the cross to pick out the unmarked Mane at the back post. Another chance goes begging for Senegal.
Senegal respond with a change of their own and young Bordeaux attacker Henri Saivet comes on for Moussa Sow. Can he provide some much-needed inspiration from the bench?
Didier Drogba has marked his 99th international cap with a goal and he comes off to a brilliant ovation from the home fans to be replaced by Lacina Traore.
Souare comes forward from left-back and his cross into the middle finds Sow who glances a header narrowly over the crossbar. Fifteen minutes remaining for Giresse's side to find a goal.
Gervinho drifts out into space on the right this time but Boka cannot find the tricky winger with his ambitious outside-of-the-foot pass. It's been a superb performance from Gervinho today, perhaps his finest in the Ivory Coast orange.
Diame goes within inches of pulling one back for Senegal when he sends a header just wide of the post after Cisse's flicked header across goal.
Yaya Toure slips a smart outside-of-the-foot pass behind Cissokho for Gervinho to chase. However, the linesman's flag is raised denying the Roma winger the chance to race towards goal.
Boubacar Barry picks up a booking after the referee adjudges that he is faking an injury and timewasting.
Gueye has not seen too much of the ball for Senegal today and his shot slices high and wide of the target. He's not the only player who has failed to bring his shooting boots today.
Many people were unsure of Bamba's inclusion ahead of Kolo Toure in the Ivory Coast starting eleven but he has been commanding at the back today and produces two brilliant challenges to deny Sow a route to goal.
Sow's strong run sets up a promising opportunity for Senegal but his low left-footed drive is deflected just out of the reach of N'Doye who was looking to pounce. Can the Lions of Teranga at least snatch one goal back?
Papiss Cisse looks to add to his four goals in qualifying but his firm header is saved acrobatically by Barry, who picks up an injury in the process. The goalkeeper receives treatment on the field but should be okay to continue.
This high defensive line is proving catastrophic for Senegal who are getting caught out time and time again. They will have to produce a superb fightback if they are to stand any chance of making it to Brazil.
CHANCE FOR GIOVANNI! The substitute nearly makes the perfect impact from the bench when he gets in behind the Senegal defence but his tame effort is comfortably saved by Coundoul.
Giovanni-Guy Yann Sio
Senegal are refusing to give up hope however, although they will need to do better than that as N'Doye slices a shot well wide of Barry's goal.
First change for Ivory Coast as Giovanni Sio replaces the effective Salomon Kalou.
SO CLOSE TO 4-0! Aurier's cross from the right is spilled by Coundoul and Drogba capitalises on the rebound, finding Yaya Toure, whose shot is blocked on the line superbly by Sane.
Gervinho is having an absolute blinder here and he looks to play a one-two with Yaya Toure but the Manchester City midfielder's return pass is intercepted.
KALOU TAKES IVORY COAST CLOSER TO BRAZIL! Gervinho's through ball splits the high Senegalese defensive line and Kalou races towards goal, finishing his one-on-one with Coundoul in composed fashion. 3-0.
Ivory Coast threaten down the other end immediately although Drogba fails to connect with his volley at the back post.
Senegal have started the second half brightly and after N'Doye's free kick causes problems in the box, the Lokomotiv Moscow attacker gets his head on a cross from the left but can only divert the ball over the bar.
The teams re-emerge from the tunnel for the second half and there is a change for Senegal as Sadio Mane comes on. I'm sure Alain Giresse will be hoping for an improved 45 minutes.
What a brilliant first half that was from Gervinho who is continuing his impressive club form for Roma. Although he did miss a glaring chance towards the end of the first half, his dribbling and pace have caused Senegal all sorts of problems at the back.
HT: Ivory Coast 2-0 Senegal. Didier Drogba's penalty gave Sabri Lamouchi's side the dream start after five minutes when Gervinho was felled in the box and the Roma winger scored the second with help from a wicked deflection off of Lamine Sane. Both sides have had chances but it is the Elephants who hold a 2-0 lead at the halfway mark.
45' + 1'
Confusion in Abidjan as Drogba goes down with nobody around him. The Galatasaray man hobbles off the field; I'm not sure if he suffered a muscle problem there or whether he is trying to run down the clock.
YAYA TOURE SHOULD MAKE IT THREE! Gervinho's dribbling again causes Gassama problems and he teases the right-back before laying the ball back for Toure, who blazes over the crossbar from close range.
N'Doye floats an inviting free kick into the Ivory Coast box but once again, Bamba rises highest to head clear the danger. It seems that Lamouchi's side will take their two-goal cushion into the break.
WHAT A CHANCE FOR GERVINHO! Senegal's high defensive line is exploited by Kalou's incise pass and Gervinho races through on goal, rounding Coundoul before his effort is blocked on the line superbly by the backtracking Gassama.
SO CLOSE FOR SENEGAL! Diame looks to bulldoze his way into the Senegal box and just as it seems that he has got past Zokora, the Trabzonspor player sticks out a leg to take the ball away.
Tempers beginning to boil over now as Drogba becomes embroiled in a heated confrontation with N'Diaye. The referee decides to take no action against the pair.
Ivory Coast are looking to utilise Gervinho's pace as much as possible but this time the former Arsenal man loses his footing on the right side of the box. Moments later, Gervinho picks out Drogba in the box but he is well dispossessed by Sane.
Ivory Coast win a free kick just outside the box but Boka's effort is well blocked by the Senegal wall. the Stuttgart left-back only has one goal for his country.
Senegal win a free kick out on the right and Barry shows good command of his area to race off his line and pluck Souare's cross out of the air. He doesn't want to lose his clean sheet today.
Diame pulls out to the left wing and he delivers a teasing cross into the middle which is flicked narrowly over the crossbar by Sow. The Senegalese have looked threatening when coming forward. Can they halve the deficit before half time?
Ivory Coast are certainly not looking to shut up shop however and Gassama makes a good clearance to prevent Gervinho from reaching Drogba's cross. Sabri Lamouchi's side clearly sense more goals in this one.
Serey Die is making an impact in the Ivory Coast midfield and his energetic approach is helping the Elephants to frustrate their opponents with a high pressing game.
Yaya Toure has scored some fine free kicks recently for Manchester City but this is not one of his better efforts as he hits the ball straight into the nearest defender.
This is better from Senegal! N'Diaye shows good acceleration to burst through the Ivory Coast midfield before his left-footed shot is well held by Barry.
CHANCE FOR SENEGAL! Sow does brilliantly to outmuscle Aurier on the left side of the box and he attempts to cut the ball back for a teammate, only to see Serey Die race back to make a crucial interception.
If Senegal lose today, it will signal their first defeat in five matches. Incidentally, they have only scored more than one goal in only one of those games.
The Elephants are looking dangerous every time they attack however and Yaya Toure nearly gets on the end of Kalou's chipped pass over the Senegal defence.
Senegal look to respond immediately but Cisse can only drag a tame shot wide of the left post.
Own GoalLudovic Sané
GOOD CHANCE FOR IVORY COAST! Sabri Lamouchi's side are having joy down both wings and Aurier is played in on the right corner of the box, only to slash his shot high and wide of the target.
Incidentally, that goal from Drogba was his 64th in international colours. Today marks his 99th appearance for his country.
BAMBA TO THE RESCUE! Senegal threaten for the first time in the game as N'Doye slips a neat pass into Diame in the Ivory Coast box. However just as the West Ham midfielder looks to pull the trigger, Bamba gets across crucially to divert the ball behind for a corner.
That was just the start that Alain Giresse feared and the Ivory Coast have got their reward for coming out of the blocks quickly. No sign of a Senegal response so far.
Penalty GoalDidier Drogba
DROGBA SCORES! The Elephants get off to a brilliant start as Drogba confidently sends Coundoul the wrong way, rolling the ball into the bottom left corner. 1-0 Ivory Coast!
Yellow CardCheikhou Kouyaté
PENALTY FOR IVORY COAST! Gervinho is the man who wins it as he dribbles his way into the Senegal box before being tripped by Kouyate and the referee points to the spot. Drogba will take it.
Gervinho has made a bright start to his Roma career and he dribbles down the left wing and looks to pick out Yaya Toure. However, the Manchester City midfielder cannot get the ball under control in the box and Gervinho is adjudged offside as he looks to capitalise on the loose ball.
The referee blows his whistle and Ivory Coast get this World Cup play-off underway.
A brilliant atmosphere at the Stade Felix Houphouet-Boigny with a good turnout from both sets of fans. Plenty of orange among the stands with a large portion of visiting Senegal fans wearing white t-shirts with the national flag on.
The teams emerge from the tunnel with captains Didier Drogba and Mohamed Diame beginning the handshakes between the respective sides. Ivory Coast are in their traditional orange strip with Senegal in their alternative green jerseys.
SENEGAL (4-3-3): Coundoul; Gassama, Kouyate, L. Sane, Souare; Gueye, A. N'Diaye, Diame; Sow, Cisse, D. N'Doye.
IVORY COAST (4-3-3): Barry; Aurier, Bamba, Zokora, Boka; Tiote, Yaya Toure, Serey Die; Gervinho, Kalou, Drogba.
Without further ado, here are today's lineups...
Newcastle striker Papiss Cisse has notched four goals in five qualifying matches, making him Senegal's most dangerous attacking threat. Like Ivory Coast, the Lions of Teranga have many players who ply their trade throughout Europe.
Yaya Toure is the highest scorer for Ivory Coast in 2014 World Cup qualifying with four goals. He is just one of a number of high-profile names in the Elephants' line-up who are touted by many as favourites to reach their third consecutive World Cup finals.
Didier Drogba was the hero for the Ivory Coast the last time these two sides met - in the 2013 African Nations qualifying round - as his two goals earned Sabri Lamouchi's side a 2-0 win last October. However, that fixture was overshadowed by crowd trouble which nearly forced the game to be abandoned.
Only 180 minutes of football separate either Ivory Coast or Senegal from packing their bags for Brazil. Both nations finished top of their respective qualifying groups without losing any of their six matches. Will the Elephants stampede their way into the finals or will Alain Giresse guide Senegal to their first World Cup since 2002? Bringing you all the action from the play-off first leg in Abidjan, my name is Max Bentley.
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