Colombia vs Ivory Coast match report World Cup 2014: James Rodriguez and Juan Quintero secure victory
Former Arsenal man Gervinho pulled one back for Ivory Coast
Thursday 19 June 2014
There was a light-hearted moment at the outset of this match when James Rodriguez, the Colombia No 10, attempted to stamp on a large inflatable ball that had been thrown on the pitch as if it were a balloon. He was unable to burst it and in the end gave up.
It was about the only thing the Colombia playmaker did get wrong as he helped inspire the South Americans to a victory that should guarantee their place in the round of 16 of this World Cup.
Colombia had never won back-to-back games on the biggest stage before, but after defeating Greece in their opening game they took three more points thanks to second-half goals from Rodriguez and substitute Juan Quintero. It means they will go into their final game against Japan in first place in Group C and on course to meet the Group D runners-up.
Ivory Coast had 55 per cent of possession in Brasilia but it was Jose Pekerman’s team who caught the eye with their speed and precision. They are also benefiting from a large travelling support in Brazil and the record crowd of 68,748 at the Estadio Nacional was largely decked out in the bright yellow of Colombia. “It gives us an extra push,” said Rodriguez who seemed to have some extra force lifting him as he got between Didier Zokora and Didier Drogba to head the opening goal from a corner after 64 minutes.
The Colombians’ second goal came from another corner, albeit this time a poorly worked Ivorian one. Serey Die was caught in possession before Teo Gutierrez played in Quintero to bury a shot past Boubacar Barry.
Pekerman praised the “calm and precision” of his players, none of whom had played at the World Cup before. In particular he singled out Rodriguez, the Monaco playmaker, who been pivotal in Colombia shrugging off the absence of the injured Radamel Falcao: “He’s better than good. He has developed, matured, he takes responsibility. He is among the best players in this tournament.”
The Ivory Coast coach, Sabri Lamouchi, felt his team lost on the “small details” but they threatened to grab a point in an absorbing contest after Gervinho pulled a goal back with 17 minutes remaining. It was a fine goal from the former Arsenal player, who set off from the left on a run that took him between two defenders and left a third, Sanchez, on his backside before he struck a low shot in off the soft hands of David Ospina.
Out of possession, Colombia sat quite deep and Ivory Coast struggled to break them down. Serge Aurier shot straight at Ospina from the edge of the box and when the Ivorians did finally get a decent ball across Wilfried Bony, the Swansea striker, swiped at thin air.
Between them Yaya Touré and Bony scored 36 Premier League goals last season but their first-half impact was negligible. Touré struggled to escape Carlos Sanchez and when the Ivorian pair did combine early in the second half – the City midfielder picking out Bony at the back post – the Swansea striker made the wrong decision and attempted an overambitious overhead kick. Not the impact Bony would have wanted after starting ahead of Drogba, who replaced him on the hour.
There was further frustration for Touré, too, when Howard Webb, refereeing his first game since the 2010 final, overlooked a possible handball shout after his free-kick struck a Colombian arm in the penalty area. The Elephants’ late pressure might have brought a point but it is hard to begrudge this entertaining Colombian side their moment in the sun.
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