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Guinea settled for a draw with Cote d Ivoire

From: BBC Sports

Ivory Coast fought back to draw their Africa Cup of Nations opener with Guinea, despite having Gervinho sent off early in the second half.

Guinea took a 36th-minute lead when Mohamed Yattara volleyed in. Ex-Arsenal striker Gervinho, who had hit the bar in the first half, was dismissed on 58 minutes for a slap.

Ibrahima Traore almost doubled the lead when his shot hit the bar, but Ivory Coast rescued themselves when Seydou Doumbia slotted low into the corner.

That outcome seemed unlikely when Gervinho was given his marching orders - he had been by far the game's best player, while his team-mates had looked well short of their potential.

Boasting the attacking talents of Wilfried Bony, now one of Africa's most expensive players since his £28m move to Manchester City, plus new his club-mate Yaya Toure and Gervinho, the Elephants were expected to win comfortably,

But Guinea showed all the character that had got them to the finals - they qualified despite not being able to play matches at home because of the Ebola crisis in their country - to hold their own.

They survived a scare when Gervinho's superb run ended in the winger's shot being palmed on to the bar brilliantly by keeper Naby Yattara, but were otherwise untroubled in the first half.

And they punished some sloppy Ivorian defending to strike the first blow.

Right-back Serge Aurier allowed the ball to drift over his head and when Guinea worked the play to the opposite flank, Traore fired in a cross which the defence could only nod down for Mohamed Yattara to smash into the roof of the net.

After the break, Bony sprang into life and fizzed in one shot that was tipped over the bar.

Gervinho then suffered his moment of madness, hitting Naby Keita in the face then reacting wildly to the resultant red card, falling to the pitch and slamming his arms on the ground.

And when Traore let fly from the edge of the box, only the crossbar prevented Guinea from extending their lead.

Instead, Ivory Coast drew level with a rare moment of inspiration. Bony controlled the ball on his chest and then played in substitute Doumbia, who sent an assured low shot past Naby Yattara into the left corner.

It might have been worse for Guinea, but they prevented Bony converting a near-post cross and both sides had to settle for a point.

Ivory Coast coach Herve Renard:

"If it was before the game we wouldn't be happy with this result. In the first half we weren't fantastic but should have been in front from two chances for Gervinho. Then we lost a goal from an error of communication.

"We pushed forward and then Gervinho was sent off. We had to react, but even at 10 against 11 we could have gone on to win the game.

"We were not favourites before this group because I think Cameroon were better in qualifying. I don't think you can underestimate Guinea. But nothing is finished."

Guinea coach Michel Dussuyer:

"The sending-off of Gervinho gave us a chance to go all the way and then we got caught out in a move right through the middle.

"We didn't turn the screw. A draw with the Ivory Coast remains a good result. We deserved to open the scoring and that set us on the way, and in the end we maybe just lacked a bit of experience.

"We're frustrated but it is a good result against a great team for whom we have great respect."


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