After an embarrassing 3-1 defeat to Nigeria in their opening game, ‘Les Lionceaux’ were in the dire need for a victory to up their chances of qualifying for the semis as well as give their fans something to cheer about.
But substitute Chris Bedia scored at almost the last kick of the game to earn Cote d’Ivoire a 2-2 draw against hosts Senegal in their Group A day two clash on Wednesday at the Leopold Sedar Senghor Stadium in Dakar.
Bedia leveled the tally in injury time to deny the hosts their first win of the Championship that left their fans completely devastated. A second half brace from striker Ibrahim Wadji had put ‘Les Lionceaux’ on the path to victory canceling Victorien Agban’s first half goal, only for Bedia to net the equalizer with virtually the last kick of the game.
A win would have given the hosts one foot at the next stage but now face a difficult test against Congo on Saturday in the battle for the second ticket of the group with Nigeria having already qualified and certain to finish as winners of the group.
It was ‘Les Elephanteaux’ who went up after nine minutes through Chelsea midfielder Agban who finished off a three-man move that had Loua D’Avila Ba and Yakou Meite as the other actors. From a free-kick, Ba fetched Meite, who also squared to Agban who responded with a sliding shot that left Senegal goalie Lamine Ba with no answer.
The Senegalese fought back for the equalizer but had to wait for five minutes after the break to level up the score. And they had Wajdi to thank drawing level in the 50th minute before putting them into the lead four minutes later with an acute angled shot that beat Cote d’Ivoire Keeper Seck Diabagate.
The Ivorians never looked back and raided the hosts half in search for the equalizer. Nine minutes from time, the Senegalese survived one of the attacks by the opponents as Ba’s low shot hit the post.
It was all but luck that smiled at the Ivorians in injury time when Bedia snatched the all important equalizer from a rare opportunity firing past Senegal goalkeeper Ba to silence the crowd at the LSS stadium.