Drogba hits the target in Ivory Coast warm-up

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The Independent Online

Didier Drogba started his first game since his knee operation last month and scored in Ivory Coast's 2-0 African Nations Cup warm-up win over Kuwait in Kuwait City on Saturday.

Drogba, who came on as a substitute last week for Chelsea in his first match back after a month-long lay-off, got the second goal – the African footballer of the year's 30th for the Ivorians in 47 games.

His Stamford Bridge team-mate Salomon Kalou opened the scoring six minutes earlier for the team, coached by the Frenchman Gerard Gili, who replaced Uli Stielike last Monday. The German is taking time away to care for his son, who has fallen ill.

Ivory Coast were reduced to 10 men when defender Jaba Andrisi was sent off for a foul on the Kuwait striker Bader Al Mutawa with 11 minutes left on the clock.

Guinea, Senegal and Morocco also won warm-up matches on Saturday, beating fellow Nations Cup finalists. Fulham's Diomansy Kamara and Henri Camara, who is on loan from Wigan at West Ham, both scored in Senegal's 3-1 win over Namibia in Dakar. Kamara scored the first two and Camara got Senegal's third seven minutes from time. The wing-back Brian Brendell scored Namibia's consolation goal.

The veteran striker Sibusiso Zuma spared South Africa's blushes yesterday after a goalless first half, scoring in the 62nd minute as the 2010 World Cup hosts struggled to beat Mozambique 2-0.

"It was not exactly what we were looking for, we missed a lot of opportunities and we could have had more penetration," said the South Africa coach, Carlos Alberto Parreira. "We expect to improve in the next game."

South Africa's strike force squandered numerous opportunities in the first of two warm-up games before the German-based Zuma broke the deadlock.

The forward received the ball from Teko Modise in midfield, chested it down and beat the goalkeeper from a tight angle. Lerato Chabangu added a second goal one minute from time.

Mali had their final warm-up match cancelled ahead of their planned international against Iran. The referee called the game before kick-off because of heavy rain on Kish Island, where the match had been scheduled. Mali were unable to rearrange the fixture because of their departure back to their training base in Abu Dhabi.

The tournament begins next Sunday, when the hosts Ghana take on Guinea in Accra.

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