Ivory Coast 4 Benin 1: Ivory Coast advance as Nigeria face early exit

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The Independent Online

Ivory Coast thrashed Benin 4-1 yesterday to underline their credentials for a second African Nations Cup triumph. With Nigeria held to a goalless draw by Mali in the other Group B game last night, the Ivorians go through to the last eight.

It leaves Nigeria, the highest-ranked team in the competition, in danger of an embarrassing early exit. The y have to beat Benin in their final game and hope Ivory Coast beat Mali.

Ivory Coast coach Gerard Gili said his team's victory had been soured by a groin injury suffered by defender Kolo Touré, who was substituted on the stroke of half-time. "It's been a very good day for us apart from Kolo's injury," said Gili.

"I am worried because he injured his groin and I don't know how long he will be out. He first has to take some tests and we hope he will come back soon."

Benin, who are eliminated, resisted until the 40th minute when striker Didier Drogba opened the scoring from close range after being set up by a fine Yaya Touré pass.

The Ivorians extended their lead one minute before the interval. Kolo Touré the creator, retrieving an overhit corner before crossing the face of the goal for his brother Yaya to stab in.

Abdelkader Keita made it three on 52 minutes, seizing a loose ball after poor play from the Benin defence and running through to slot past Rachad Chitou. Aruna Dindane, who had gone close on numerous occasions, wrapped up the win 11 minutes later by heading home a Drogba cross.

Razak Omotoyossi scored a stoppage-time consolation for Benin, whose build-up to the game was overshadowed by coach Reinhard Fabisch's claims that he was asked to help fix the result of his side's opening match which they lost 1-0 to Mali in Sekondi on Monday.

The Confederation of African Football has told Fabisch he has 24 hours to sign an affidavit confirming his allegation of the bribery attempt.

Ivory Coast: Barry, Boka, Eboué, Meite, K Touré (Gohouri, 45), Y Touré, Zokora, Dindane, Drogba (Sanogo, 66), Kalou, Keita (Yao, 75).

Benin: Chitou, Adenon, Chrysostome (Seika, 66), Sessegnon, Gaspoz (Ogounbiyi, 50), Boco, Omotoyossi, Tchomogo, Adjamossi, Tchomogo (Maiga, 58), Ahoueya (Oladikpikpo, 82).

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