The Ivory Coast was held to a goalless draw by Burkina Faso (0-0), Monday night in Cabinda. After Togo’s demise, it is now a three team group with Ghana sitting on the sidelines on the first day of the group’s match.
Habib Bamogo, the Burkina Faso striker, warned: "We are a united team, tough to destabilise”. Didier Drogba and the Ivorian Elephants learned the truth about that statement on Monday night as a sluggish Ivorian squad lost its bearings and conceded a draw (0-0) in their first CAN 2010 match against an impenetrable Burkina Faso defense.
The Elephants, main favorites in the competition, need to, at all cost, beat Ghana on Friday for one of the two top spots in group B, which has been reduced to three teams following Togo’s departure.
Besides an ignored penalty, in the first half, by Tunisian referee, M. Bennaceur, the Ivorians are sure to lick their wounds. And the statistics gives them a good reason to do so.
In fact, Vahid Halilhodzic’s squad sent seventeen balls flying towards the pole with only seven of them on target, against a single shot from the
Burkinabe side. But for Baky Kone, the imp from Olympique Marseille who failed to drive his shots through the net on three occasions (43rd, 56th, 68th), Didier Drogba’s teammates lacked focus.
The elephants were silent after the encounter: "We played against a united team that had decided not to allow any goals and this made it quite complicated. We failed our task. We tried to stay focused… to score. It certainly was hot, but the heat hampered both teams… we will try to adapt.
In fact, the Stallions had opted for the hedgehog tactic to try and thwart the plans of the Ivorians who have beaten them on two occasions.
According to Jonathan Pitroipa, Burkina Faso striker, the Tom Thumb team stands a chance of winning. "We knew ahead of the game that it won’t be easy. We knew them. We first wanted to stay behind and remain compact and then later try to play high balls.
"It’s good, we are part of the game now. As we are only three teams in the group, we are only left with a game against Ghana.”
The Black Stars have been warned: The two teams will both be counting on a win against Ghana to qualify.