Tanzania/Côte d’Ivoire: Drogba’s Header Sink Taifa Stars
Dar Es Salaam — DIDIER Drogba’s clinical finish decided the mouthwatering friendly clash between Ivory Coast and Taifa Stars, that has just endedat the National Stadium in Dar es Salaam, as the Elephants chalked a hard fought 1-0 win.
The Chelsea super striker dived to power home Emmanuel Eboue cross from the right side. Eboue was allowed space and time to cross and Drogba outclassed Stars defender Nadir Haroub, to score one of his typical goals in difficult situation.
Under tight marking, Drogba showed his touch of class, leaping off to head home past helpless goalie Muharami Mohammed, as Haroub was left sprawling on the turf.
Despite the defeat, Stars showed character and the difference between the two teams arguably was the quality, experience and expertise shown by the Ivorian stars.
Taifa Stars started brightly, pressing hard in the first ten opening minutes, creating several scoring chance but somewhat lacked the quality of Drogba upfront.
As the pressure mounted, Ivory Coast switched the tactics and started applying physical game that Stars players failed to match. From then, the West African giants took control of the game, switching play from side to side.
Perhaps the night was long for diminutive Taifa Stars winger Mrisho Ngasa, who missed the most glittering chance of all in the first half.
He raced to a drop ball from the centre of the midfield, went clear ahead of racing Kolo Toure, but his poor decision making saw the Manchester City defender poking off the ball between his legs, as goalie Barry Boubacar was well beaten.
Apart from the goal, Drogba was well marshalled by Stars defenders led by Haroub and Kelvin Yondani.
However, the striker came close in several occasions. He made his first attempt just 11 minutes from the kick off, but Haroub made a timely block to an attacking throw in ball.
The powerful striker shot wide three minutes later, but the real scare for Stars and Tanzania fans came after 25 minutes when Muharami was forced to a full stretch to parry off Drogba’s 30 yard set piece.
However, Stars could not stop Drogba six minutes before the break, when the star netted the solitary goal.
After the break, Bosnian coach Vahid Halilhodzic who started with a full first team squad, made the entire change of his squad and gave his top class players including Drogba a rest. The new squad gave Stars torrid time in the first opening minutes. But Stars retreated and calmed things down.
Stars coach Marcio Maximo also resorted to quick changes, bringing in Abdi Kassim, Stephan Mwasika, Musa Hassan Mgosi and John Boko in place of Nizar Khalfan, Juma Jabu, Kigi Makasi and Jerson Tegete respectively.
The changes gave Stars a bit of momentum. Few minutes before he was substituted, Tegete went close to level the score, when his close shot hit the near post.