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Braces help Ghana, Ivory Coast advance
Ivory Coast recorded a 2-1 win over Algeria to book their place in the semi-finals of the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations courtesy of a brace from Wilfried Bony, while another brace from Christian Atsu gave Ghana a 3-0 win over Guinea in the other quarter-final game played at the Nuevo Estadio de Malaboin Equatorial Guinea.
IVORY COAST 3-1 ALGERIA
Ivory Coast XI: Gbohouo; Bailly, K. Toure, Kanon; Aurier, Y. Toure, Die, Tiene; Gervinho, Bony, Gradel.
Algeria XI: M’Bolhi; Mandi, Bougherra, Medjani, Ghoulam; Bentaleb, Taider; Feghouli, Brahimi, Mahrez; Soudani.
Algeria started the game the better of the two sides, as they went on the attack from the blast of the referee’s whistle, winning two corner-kicks inside the opening three minutes of the encounter.
The Desert Foxes continued to dominate the opening minutes, forcing their opponents to make careless mistakes, with both Yaya Toure and Kolo Toure conceding free-kicks, as Algeria enjoyed a better spell of possession.
Brahimi tricked his way into Ivory Coast’s box in the 9th minute, but had his effort deflected across the face of goal, forcing Gbohouo to come off his line. There was a frantic moment in the Ivorians’ defence as Konan’s clearance fell to Soudani inside the box, but the latter hit his effort straight at the goalkeeper as both teams stayed level.
Algeria’s dominance meant Ivory Coast were forced to sit back in their own half, however, Die broke free on two occasions, finding Gervinho with a lot of space on the right in the 14th minute, but the AS Roma forward’s pass failed to find either Bony or Gradel.
Ivory Coast gradually eased themselves into the game, with Aurier’s header from free-kick coming off the crossbar in the 24th minute, after Mandi fouled Gervinho.
The Elephants eventually took the lead two minutes later through Wilfried Bony. The Manchester City forward timed his run to head home Max Gradel’s cross into the bottom corner of M’Bolhi’s goal.
Algeria searched for an instant equalizer, with Ghoulam and Brahimi leading the onslaught for the Desert Foxes. However, it was Bony who came closest to scoring as he unleashed a powerful shot from 25-yards which went wide off target in the 41st minute, as the scores remained the same by half-time.
Algeria expectedly resumed the second half with more urgency. But the first real chance of the encounter fell to Gervinho, but his volley from inside the box was blocked by Medjani, thus allowing M’Bolhi to collect the ball.
But Algeria would not be denied an equalizer as Hilal Soudani scored the leveler in the 51st minute, after he controlled a long ball from Feghouli, he cut inside the keeper who was already off his line, before sending a low drive which beat the onrushing Bailley.
Bony however struck again in the 69th minute to restore the lead for Ivory Coast and effectively win the game for the West Africans, after he headed home a free-kick from Yaya Toure, after Ghoulam brought down Gradel.
GHANA v GUINEA
In the other game played earlier today, a brace from Christian Atsu sandwiched between a goal from Kwesi Appiah gave the Black Stars of Ghana a 3-0 lead over the Syli Nationale of Guinea in a quarter-final game of the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations played at the Nuevo Estadio de Malabo.
GHANA XI: Brimah, Afful, Baba Rahman, Jonathan Mensah, Boye, Afriyie Acquah, Wakaso, Andre Ayew, Atsu, Gyan, Kwesi Appiah
GUINEA XI: Naby, Camara, Sankoh, Paye, Cisse, Fofana, Constant, Razzagui Camara, Traore, Conte, Yattara
Atsu gave Ghana the lead as early as the fourth minute after latching unto a pass from Appiah following good play from Andre Ayew.
In the game which was well dominated by Ghana, Traore wasted s rare chance for Guinea from a free-kick in the 10th minute. Ghana were also guilty of wastefulness as Afful and Mensah also wasted chances for the Black Stars.
Appiah scored in the 44th minute to double the lead for Ghana before the break after capitalizing on an error by Sankoh who made a mess of a clearance.
Atsu scored his second on the night a minute past the hour mark to seal the win for Ghana with a sensational strike from outside the box, to send Avram Grant’s men into the semi-finals.
— KingFut.com (@King_Fut) February 1, 2015