Kalou inspires Elephants into last eight

Emmanuel Eboue was sent off, but Ivory Coast survived his loss to book their place in the quarter-finals of the Africa Cup of Nations with an emphatic performance against Ghana last night.

After drawing 0-0 against Burkina Faso in their opening game on Monday, this was a far more impressive showing from the tournament favourites, the return of Salomon Kalou seeming to give their attack a flexibility it had lacked.

Ghana must now beat Burkina Faso in their final game – in Luanda on Tuesday – and they may have to so without their captain Michael Essien, who seemed to be labouring in the final minutes having apparently suffered an adverse reaction to his return after a hamstring injury.

"We played really efficiently," said Didier Drogba. "We played well even with 10 men and knowing how good Ghana are, I would say this was a great result. We tried to win the first game and I think we played well then, but in the second game we were a bit luckier and scored some goals. Even though the pitch was difficult we tried to play good football."

Their opener, midway through the first half, came after just such a passage of intelligent play. Yaya Touré's through-ball was perfectly weighted for Salomon Kalou, and as the goalkeeper Richard Kingson advanced, he calmly knocked the ball square for Gervinho to knock in his third goal for his country.

Boubacar Barry, the Ivorian goalkeeper, promptly unfurled a narrow banner dedicating the goal to the victims of last Friday's terrorist attack on the team-bus of Togo, who should have been the fourth side in what is now a three-team group.

They were 1-0 up and seemed to be cruising when Eboué was dismissed 10 minutes after half-time, lunging from behind into the standing leg of Kwadwo Asamoah. Briefly, as Matthew Amoha volleyed against the post and Asamoah had a free-kick tipped over by the jittery Barry, it looked as though Ghana might find a way back into the game, but the match was settled by a superb free-kick from Siaka Tiene. It was a goal at a crucial time and, for a side who have in the past so regularly faltered under pressure, it seemed to hint at the sort of resilience that has previously been absent

Drogba, who had a quiet match, headed in Kader Keita's cross in injury time to make it 3-0, and although Asamoah Gyan converted a late penalty, controversially awarded after he had gone down under challenge from Soulemane Bamba, it did little to alter the impression of Ivorian power.

"There was a lot of heat in the game," said Yaya Touré. "Getting our first goal of the tournament was difficult for us, but we played tough and played well."

Ivory Coast (4-3-3): Barry; Eboué, K Touré, Bamba, Tiene; Zokora, Y Touré (Fae, 67), Tiote; Gervinho (Demel, 60), Drogba, Kalou (Keita, 84).

Ghana (4-1-4-1): Kingson; Inkoom, Vorsah, Addo, R Ayew; Narry (Essien, h-t); D Ayew (Gyan, 46), Agyemang-Badu, Asamoah, Opoku (Afful, 77); Amoah.

Referee: J Damon (South Africa).

Match Guide: Fixtures

*Nigeria v Benin

Group C, 4pm (Eurosport)

Nigeria face a must-win game following their surprising opening defeat against Egypt. The Super Eagles began Tuesday's match well before going down 3-1 and should be confident of better against an unfancied Benin side. The Squirrels threw away a two-goal lead against Mozambique and could pay dearly for that today.

*Egypt v Mozambique

Group C, 6.30pm (Eurosport)

Defending champions Egypt can guarantee a place in the quarter finals with a win in Benguela tonight, although they may have to do without Hosni Abd-Rabou, Hossam Ghaly and Wael Gomaa, who are all struggling with a virus. Opponents Mozambique came from behind in their opener to earn a draw against Benin but should prove easy pickings for Egypt.

peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
Arts and Entertainment
Highs and lows of the cast's careers since 2004
New Articles
i100... with this review
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam