CSKA Moscow Forward Seydou Doumbia rescued a point for the Elephants as Cote d’Ivoire drew 1-1 with Guinea in their opening game of Group D at the Africa Cup of Nations in Malabo on Tuesday.
Doumbia who came on as a Substitute fired a low shot into the bottom left-hand corner of the net after collecting a beautiful pass from Manchester City’s new signing Wilfried Bony 18 minutes from the end.
The Elephants of led by (African player of the year) Yaya Toure were the book-makers favourites to win the match against Guinea but were shocked when Mohamed Yattara struck eight minutes before half-time. Frustration was made to bear on Herve Renard’s team when Gervinho was giving his matching orders with a straight red card early in the second half when he seemed to knock Guinea’s Naby Keita in the penalty area.
Both teams were lucky to remain on level terms in the first quarter of the match which saw the Elephants prevail with the best of the chances with Gervinho breaking into the penalty area and then seeing his effort turned against the woodwork by goalkeeper Naby Yattara after Bony failed with an initial shot.
Gervinho burst into the area again following a pass from Eric Bailly, only for Yattara to stop what was this time a weak effort. Rather it was Guinea with Conte and Keita who took control of the midfield for the best part of 37 minutes.
The Ivorian defenders failed to deal with a hanging cross from Guinea’s stand-in captain Ibrahima Traore and Lyon striker Yattara smashed the ball into the roof of the net much to the delight of their fans.
The Elephants were then reduced to 10 men just before the hour mark when Gervinho lost his cool and they almost drifted further behind moments later when Traore’s shot from close range crashed off the bar. Renard was forced to look to his bench for inspiration and Doumbia took the place of Salomon Kalou as part of a double change on 65 minutes. The 27-year-old did not require long to make his mark for both sides had to settle for a point each.
By: Jammeh E.K. Bojang