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CAN 2008 : Victory for Côte d’Ivoire and Nigeria, Mali Fails
They play Guinea and Ghana, respectively, in the quarter finals
Côte d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast), beat Mali with cheeky ease 3-0, on Tuesday, and will be meeting Guinea in the quarter finals of the African Cup of Nations. Nigeria finally made it as well by beating Benin (2-0), and will have to work harder to beat Ghana in the next stage.

Côte d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast), beat Mali with cheeky ease 3-0, on Tuesday, and will be meeting Guinea in the quarter finals of the African Cup of Nations. Nigeria finally made it as well by beating Benin (2-0), and will have to work harder to beat Ghana in the next stage.

Côte d’Ivoire was as good as Ghana. By winning their third consecutive match, when they beat Mali (3-0), Didier Drogba and his team mates go straight to the next stage as winners of Group B whilst avoiding any meeting with their hosts, Ghana. The Chealsea striker paved the way in the ninth minute when he shot a left footer which went past the Malian goalkeeper, Sidibe.

Mali falls

From a distance Mali gives their victory away to Nigeria who playing against Benin at Sekondi. To move on to the next stage, they are expected to win, play a goaless draw, or in the worst scenario lose by a small margin and hope that Nigeria does not separate itself from Benin by more than a goal. The Mali Eagles, however, do not show much enthusiasm and even look quite passive in front of their opponents.

Matters get even worse for them seven minutes into the second half when the Nigerian defender from Olympique de Marseille, Taye Taiwo, kicks a powerful direct shot that the Beninois goalie is only able to punch away. Odemwinge takes the ball and gives it to Jon Mikel Obi at the second pole who heads it home. Almost at the same moment Côte d’Ivoire adds another goal in Mali’s net. Zoro, who had proved how dangerous he could be from a corner kick in the first half drives another ball into Sidibe’s net.

Nigeria finds a way

It is only thirty minutes to full time and Nigeria needs to push harder to insure itself a place in the quarter finals. The slightest goal in favour of Mahamadou Diarra’s (supended from the game due to a double yellow card) team mates, cannot be allowed. The Malians do their level best to revive their game but they seem overtaken and aren’t able to strike, not even with intercepted balls. Even the ball that hits their opponent’s goal post in the 25th minute is by pure chance.

The Super Eagles land on higher ground in the 86th minute when Yakubu Ayegbeni, who gets a good pass from Obi Mikel, only lifts his leg in front of Djidonou to score the second goal. At the same time in Accra, Côte d’Ivoire seals its victory as well as the total elimination of its opponents by virtue of a goal from Sanogo, who substituted Drogba in the 75th minute. Côte d’Ivoire plays against Guinea in the quarter finals next Saturday at 9 :30 pm in Sekondi while Nigeria plays against Ghana three hours beforehand in Accra.


Benin

dossier : CAN 2008

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