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AFCON 2015 Day 4: 1-1 draws prevail in Group D
Cote d’Ivoire 1-1 Guinea
Cote d’Ivoire: Gbohouo; Aurier, Bertrand, Kolo Toure, Kanon; Yaya Toure, Tiote; Gervinho, Kalou, Die; Bony.
Guinea: Naby Yattara; Sankoh, Fofana, Constant, Camara; Pogba, Issiaga; Keita, Traore, Conte; Mohamed Yattara
The game started quietly with Guinea starting confidently without showing any fear in front of the favourites, after 17 minutes Gervinho made a foray from the left flank passing the two Guinean players he faced until he reached the box then he sent a pass in the way of Bony whose shot was deflected to go back to Gervinho who hit the bar.
Guinea started to go forward and leave spaces in the back which was exploited by the pace of both Gervinho and Kalou. Gervinho was the main Ivoirian threat and in the 31st minute he launched once again from the left sending a smashing shot on goal which was saved by the Guinean keeper but the flag was up.
Nine minutes from the half-time whistle, Mohamed Yattara scored when he volleyed Serge Aurier’s poor clearance header from close range straight into the net of Gbohou putting Guinea into a shocking lead in Nuevo Stadio de Malabo.
In the second half the Elephants started well and just after 3 minutes after the second half began; Bony set the ball nicely for himself at the edge of the box firing a dangerous half-volley which was tipped over the bar by the keeper. Yaya and his company kept pressure on the Guinean players to get the equaliser winning some corners and free kicks that wasn’t converted to goals.
At the 58th minute, the mission became more difficult for the Elephants when Cote d’Ivoire’s arguably best player in the match till that time – Gervinho – lost his temper slapping the Guinean defender who was marking the Roma striker. Gervinho left the pitch in tears with no one to blame but himself.
After 4 minutes from being down to ten, Cote d’Ivoire was about to get punished when Ibrahima Traore passed two players and fired a fantastic shot that rebounded off the post. Three minutes later a dangerous free kick was sent to the near post but Gbohou saved it just before the ball connects with the Guinean player.
In the 72nd minute, and totally unexpected. Bony’s artistic touch released Seydou Doumbia towards the goal, the substitute made no mistake in front of goal scoring the equalizer and bringing 10 men Cote d’Ivoire back to life. Four minutes later, The Elephants were about to add a second when Serge Aurier went past the defender in the right flank sending a low cross to Bony who wasted the chance.
Mali 1-1 Cameroon
In the second game of the night, Cameroon and Mali both failed to get into their stride, and both sides had to settle for a 1-1 draw as well; this is the fifth time in eight games that the exact result has occurred.
Mali: Diakiré, D. Diakité, Wagué, S. Coulibaly, A.Tamboura, Sylla, N’Diaye, Keita, S.Yatabaré, Sako, M.Yatabaré
Cameroon: Ondoa, Oyongo, Nkoulou, Chedjou, Bedimo, Salli, Enoh, Loé, Moukandjo, Choupo-Moting, Aboubakar
The Eagles were all over Cameroon in the opening stages of the match, and 19-year-old Fabrice Ondoa – a frequent starter for Barcelona B – had to be alert to keep his side in the match early on.
11' Moustafa Yatabare hits a header just an inch wide off the post! Mali all over Cameroon here.
— KingFut.com (@King_Fut) January 20, 2015
Nevertheless, the Indomitable Lions clawed their way back into the match, and given the end-to-end nature of the remaining minutes the half-time whistle couldn’t come soon enough for both sets of defenders.
Cameroon came close with a Chedjou free-kick early in the second half, but it was Mali who took the lead in the 71st minute; Sambou Yatabaré hit a fierce half-volley past Ondoa from a difficult angle after a Malian free-kick evaded everyone in the Cameroon penalty box.
Volker Finke’s men pushed forward in search of an equaliser, and New York Red Bulls left-back Oyongo duly obliged; the 23-year-old showed great control to bring down a long ball and poke past Diakiré to level the scores with 6 minutes of regulation time left.
Ambroise Oyongo: Scored with his first shot on goal at #AFCON2015 having failed to net in 18 apps for New York Red Bulls in MLS last season
— WhoScored.com (@WhoScored) January 20, 2015
Yatabaré thought he had won it for his side in the 92nd minute, but the linesman flagged for offside, as the game came to a close.
Like Group B, all four teams are tied on points and goal difference after one round.