Monday, January 21, 2008
I didn't get to watch this clash of African giants between Ivory Coast and Nigeria, but from all accounts, it wasn't the best representation of African football.
Here, a link to the Guardian Unlimited's minute-by-minute commentary on today's battle, won by Ivory Coast 1-0.
A second-half goal by Salomon Kalou gave the Elephants the 3 points.
The Chelsea striker netted on 66 minutes against the run of play to give the Elephants a dream start in Group B at the Essipon stadium.
Both teams struggled to play lively football in scorching heat, with the temperature reaching 35 degrees Celsius.
Star Ivorian striker Didier Drogba spoke out after the match.
"It is an important victory because we won against our main rival for top spot in the group," the Ivory Coast captain told a press conference.
"Nigeria were the most dangerous team and I think the most important (thing) has been done."
Drogba, who was doubtful for the match having just recovered from injury, said his personal circumstances did not matter. "Today, it's not about me, it's all about the team."
Nigeria coach Berti Vogts praised his team's efforts, saying they could hardly have done more.
"We have lost against the best team in Africa," the German said.
"But we will be back in the tournament. Two years ago, we lost the first game and we qualified for the knockout stage."
In 2006 in Egypt, the Super Eagles were also defeated 1-0 by Ivory Coast in the semi-finals.
On we go ...