The Ivory Coast dominates Nigeria (1-0) while Mali overpowered Benin with the same score. Both The Ivorian Elephants and the Mali eagles won their matches respective matches against Nigeria and Benin respectively, by one goal to nil. Salomon Kalou et Frédéric Oumar Kanouté we the scorers in the two ordinary matches.
In this first shocker, The Ivory Coast beat Nigeria by One goal to nothing thanks to Salomon Kalou. The Chelsea striker changed the given at the 66th minute with a series of excellent dribbles in the heart of Nigerian defence. Generally speaking, the Elephants did their best to keep the game under control without causing much sensation, still an encouraging performance match for their new coach Gerard Gili.
The first half showed a possible weakness on the Ivorian side, its last defence, Boubacar "Copa" Barry gave his fellow team mates quite a scare. Fisrt by letting go of a catch following a kick from John Obi Mikel (11th minute), and then later getting totally lost in the biggest Nigerian opportunity, a strong kick from Taiwo which hit the post in the 15th minute.
The Eagles’ slow take off
In the second group B match, Jean Francois’ Eagles did not find Benin to be an easy adversary. The first half proved to be quite useless for opportunities, too many calculated passes from the Malians to destabilise the solid Beninois defence. Mali opened the scoreline right after the break. A strong kick from Dembelé was badly punched away by the Beninois goalie, Kanouté follows to take over but is stopped by Gaspoz. The obvious penalty is transformed into a score by Kanouté (48th).
The next stage of the match remained quite bland until the 83rd minute when Benin misses an unpardonable double opportunity. Sessegnon, who enters the game in the second half shows off his power when he gives the ball to Ogounbiyi, who unable to kick passes the ball behind him to Oladikpikpo whose kick is then cleared by Sidibé, the Malian goalie, the ball gets back to Sessegnon, who who kicks over the post. It is over for the Squirrels who lose by 1 goal to nothing. Mali and The Ivory Coast are ahead of Group B.
The next match from the group
Ivory Coast - Benin: Date: 01/25/08 Time:18hours GMT Venue: Sekondi
Nigeria-Mali: Date: 01/25/08 Time: 20:30 hours GMT Venue: Sekondi