African Cup of Nations – Ivory Coast smash five
Eurosport – Sun, 03 Feb 23:39:00 2008
Ivory Coast swept aside Guinea 5-0 to reach the African Cup of Nations semi-finals, Chelsea stars Salomon Kalou (2) and Didier Drogba getting onto the scoresheet.
Ivory Coast were massive favourites before the match – and many people’s tip for tournament – and did not disappoint on another energetic night in the Cup of Nations.
Ivory Coast created an early chance that Kalou swiped at as they menaced the Guinea back-line down the right. Indeed, Keita’s clever goal arrived from that wing.
As he cut towards goal Guinea ‘keeper Kemoko Camara inched out towards the area where he expected a cross; however Keita smashed the ball low inside the near upright and promptly flew towards the far corner somersaulting in celebration.
The giant inflatable Pepsi that got in his way was as easily pushed aside as Guinea by the final whistle. However, for a long period it did not look that simple.
The underdogs attacked effectively at times through Ismael Bangoura while keeping their opponents at bay, despite some early poor marking from set-pieces.
The Elephants next seriously threatened two minutes before the break, Camara making a stunning double save from Aruna Kone and Kalou.
Keita then flashed a drive past the far upright and Drogba was somehow denied by a superhuman save at the very end of the opening period.
In the second half Souleymane Youla almost converted a Bangoura cross at the near post and Daouda Jabi cracked a low free-kick into the side-netting as Guinea began to believe that a win was within their reach.
When Aruna skipped past Camara and lifted his shot into the side-netting over a desperately sliding defender it looked as though Guinea had the luck, but it was not to be.
Two minutes later Drogba carved a run into the box and finished casually to double the advantage and set the decorative Ivorian fans and bench celebrating like crazy people.
Before Guinea had time to draw breath Kalou walked the ball around Camara and into the net to make it three and there was no way back.
With the game reduced to walking pace, Barcelona midfielder Yaya Toure strode to the by-line and centred for an easy fourth, Kalou the man arriving to sidefoot home.
Baki Kone had come on as a replacement for a beaming Drogba and it took him 11 minutes to line up a bullet of a strike into the top corner to seal the win and set Ivory Coast dreaming of a glorious run all the way to the final.