African Cup of Nations – Kalou’s solo strike wins big clash

Mon, 21 Jan 20:32:00 2008

A second-half goal by Salomon Kalou earned Ivory Coast a 1-0 victory over Nigeria in a clash of heavyweights at the African Nations Cup.

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The Chelsea striker netted on 66 minutes against the run of play to give the Elephants a dream start in Group B at the Essipon stadium.

Both teams struggled to play lively football in scorching heat, with the temperature reaching 35 degrees Celsius.

Nigeria had the best chances with Olympique Marseille defender Taye Taiwo hitting Boubacar Barry’s bar with a powerful free kick after 14 minutes.

Ivory Coast coach Gerard Gili added to his front line by replacing midfielder Steve Gohouri with forward Abdelkader Keita at halftime.

The Super Eagles continued to dictate the play but Yakubu wasted two clear chances within the first five minutes of the second half.

Ivory Coast went ahead when Kalou dribbled past three Nigerians before beating keeper Austin Ejide from close range.

Aruna Dindane went close to doubling the tally three minutes later but the striker missed the target after outpacing the Nigeria defence.

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