Match report: Ivory Coast beat Tunisia 3-0 in Africa Cup of Nations
Posted: 26 January 2013 Time: 19:05
Ivory Coast dominated Tunisia in their Group D clash on Saturday and became the first nation to qualify for the next round on the Africa Cup of Nations.
Ivorian coach Sabri Lamouchi made some bold changes to his line-up, bringing in Lacina Traore, Salomon Kalou, Romaric and Cheick Tiote, while Kolo Toure and Didier Drobga were relegated to the bench.
Lacina Traore's physical presence proved too much for the Tunisians, while Yaya Toure’s more attacking role, tucked in just behind Traore, was another positive improvement to the side.
It was all Ivory Coast in the opening minutes, with midfielder Cheick Tiote having a shot from distance early on, drawing an easy save for Moez Ben Cherifia.
Shortly after Salomon Kalou headed wide after a high ball from Romaric, before slamming the ball over the crossbar from 10 metres out a few minutes later.
Cherifia then pulled off a great save to deny Lacina Traore, after Gervinho had played him in with a pin-point pass.
The two combined again on 21 minutes, and the Ivorians found the breakthrough. Gervinho played a great one-two with Traore and hit home from close range, for his second goal in as many matches in the tournament.
Just after the half-hour mark Tunisia won a corner, after Tiote did well to intercept Saber Khlifa’s cross, but the Carthage Eagles could not make anything of their rare attacking foray.
Ivory Coast had a penalty appeal denied just before half-time, when Khalil Chammam handled the ball in the box, stopping a cross coming into the box, but the referee considered it undeliberate.
The Elephants continued their dominance in the second half, with the first chance falling to Traore. Romaric's free-kick found Traore eight yards out, but he was taken by surprise and tried to connect with the back of his head, despite having time and space to bring it down.
Moments later as Tunisia had a rare chance when Khlifa hit ball wide under pressure from Sol Bamba.
The Ivorians had a goal disallowed 13 minutes into the half, when Gervinho was ruled offside, and pulled the ball back to Kalou who hit home. Replays indicated the Arsenal man was on.
Drogba made his way onto the pitch on 68 minutes, and immediately had a chance, when a ball sent in by Gervinho landed at his feet just outside the six-yard box, but he could not control it and Tunisia cleared.
Three minutes from time Ivory Coast wrapped up the points, when Yaya Toure hit home from outside the box, giving Cherifia no chance.
On 90 minutes, Didier Ya Konan, seconds after coming onto the pitch, added the final nail in Tunisia’s coffin, when he controlled the ball on the edge of the box and beat the keeper with a placed shot.
Tunisia almost pulled a goal back in injury time, but Boubacar Barry just managed to keep the header out, and the Elephants kept their clean sheet.