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Cote D'Ivoire defeated Mali 1-0 in the international friendly played today in Valence, France...

Cote d’Ivoire defeated Mali 1-0 today in an international friendly match played in Valence, France that served as a tune-up ahead of the third round of the 2012 African Cup of Nations qualifiers coming up next month.

Cote d’Ivoire were able to dominate early on at Stade Georges Pompidou and Hannover midfielder Didier Ya Konan quickly powered the Elephants into the lead in the second minute after converting a cross from close range.

The Elephants dominated for large chunks of the first half but were unable to double their advantage.

Mali grew in confidence as the game wore on and won a penalty for their attacking efforts.

However, Mamadou Samassa wasn't able to convert from 12-yards out as the 'keeper made the save.

Chelsea’s Didier Drogba was hardly influential in the encounter, even when honouring his first call up from new coach Francois Zahoui.

Mali were unable to find an equaliser but coach Alain Giresse won't be too upset as he wanted his side to be competitive against a tough opponent ahead of their AFCON qualifier in late March and they did just that.

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