Thu, Jan 22, 2015 - Page 20 News List

Ivory Coast and Cameroon hang on for 1-1 draws

AP, MALABO, Equatorial Guinea

Mali goalkeeper Soumaila Diakite, left, dives to save a shot on goal by Cameroon forward Vincent Aboubakar, center, during their game at the Nuevo Estadio de Malabo in Equatorial Guinea on Tuesday.

Photo: AFP

Both the Ivory Coast and Cameroon came into the day as big favorites at the Africa Cup of Nations, and both finished it happy just to avoid losing.

Ivory Coast got a late equalizer from Seydou Doumbia — shortly after Gervinho was sent off with a straight red card — to earn a 1-1 draw with Guinea on Tuesday at the Nuevo Estadio de Malabo.

A short time later at the same venue, it was Cameroon who needed a late goal, this one from Ambroise Oyongo, to hold on for a 1-1 draw against Mali.

“We bounced back. It’s a good point for us,” said Ivory Coast captain Yaya Toure, who recently won his fourth African Player of the Year award. “We have a couple of games coming, and I hope we will do well in them.”

The draws leave all four teams in Group D with one point.

On Saturday, Ivory Coast face Mali, and Cameroon are to play Guinea.

Gervinho had been Ivory Coast’s best player, or least the one with the best chances, until a scuffle with Baissama Sankoh during an off-the-ball incident earned him a straight red in the 57th minute.

“With 10 men it was very hard,” said Ivory Coast coach Herve Renard, who led Zambia to the Africa Cup of Nations title in 2012. “I think the players did very well in the different organization [after the sending off].”

Doumbia, who came on in the 66th minute as the tactics changed, scored from in front of goal in the 72nd after a pass from Wilfried Bony. Toure was the one who started the play.

Guinea had taken the lead in the 36th minute, when Ibrahima Traore crossed to Mohamed Yattara.

Traore then had a chance to double the lead in the 61st, but his shot hit the crossbar.

“We’re not happy, because we know we could win this game,” Traore said. “We’re going to keep working hard. At the end we will win and we will qualify, because as I said, we are not afraid of anyone.”

In the second match, Oyongo latched onto to a long pass from Raoul Loe in the 84th minute and beat Mali goalkeeper Soumaila Diakite in a fast-paced game that had several missed chances at both ends.

Sambou Yatabare had given Mali a surprising lead in the 71st minute, controlling the ball with his chest and scoring from a tight angle after a free kick on the other side of the field.

“The manner we played this match, especially the second half, it was the manner to win the game,” Cameroon coach Volker Finke said. “The goal of Mali was a matter of concentration. The players were not concentrated.”

Cameroon, who conceded only one goal in qualifying, had chances earlier in the game, but lacked quality finishing.

One of the more entertaining moments came in the 57th minute, when Cameroon forward Edgar Salli bounced the ball several times on his head to evade defenders, but was eventually brought down just outside the box.

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