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.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
A boy holds a chick during the Russian National Agricultural Exhibition Golden Autumn 2014 in Moscow on October 9, 2014.
news
Life and Style
love + sex
Arts and Entertainment
Victoria Wood, Kayvan Novak, Alexa Chung, Chris Moyles
tvReview: No soggy bottoms, but plenty of other baking disasters on The Great Comic Relief Bake Off
Sport
Ashley Young celebrates the winner for Manchester United against Newcastle
footballNewcastle 0 Man United 1: Last minute strike seals precious victory
Life and Style
Tikka Masala has been overtaken by Jalfrezi as the nation's most popular curry
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
Seth Rogan is one of America’s most famous pot smokers
filmAmy Pascal resigned after her personal emails were leaked following a cyber-attack sparked by the actor's film The Interview
News
Benjamin Netanyahu and his cartoon bomb – the Israeli PM shows his ‘evidence’
people
Arts and Entertainment
80s trailblazer: comedian Tracey Ullman
tv
News
i100
Life and Style
A statue of the Flemish geographer Gerard Kremer, Geradus Mercator (1512 - 1594) which was unveiled at the Geographical Congree at Anvers. He was the first person to use the word atlas to describe a book of maps.
techThe 16th century cartographer created the atlas
Arts and Entertainment
Stephen Tompkinson is back as DCI Banks
tvReview: Episode one of the new series played it safe, but at least this drama has a winning formula
News
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable
Living with Alzheimer's: What is it really like to be diagnosed with early-onset dementia?

What is it like to live with Alzheimer's?

Depicting early-onset Alzheimer's, the film 'Still Alice' had a profound effect on Joy Watson, who lives with the illness. She tells Kate Hilpern how she's coped with the diagnosis
The Internet of Things: Meet the British salesman who gave real-world items a virtual life

Setting in motion the Internet of Things

British salesman Kevin Ashton gave real-world items a virtual life
Election 2015: Latest polling reveals Tories and Labour on course to win the same number of seats - with the SNP holding the balance of power

Election 2015: A dead heat between Mr Bean and Dick Dastardly!

Lord Ashcroft reveals latest polling – and which character voters associate with each leader
Audiences queue up for 'true stories told live' as cult competition The Moth goes global

Cult competition The Moth goes global

The non-profit 'slam storytelling' competition was founded in 1997 by the novelist George Dawes Green and has seen Malcolm Gladwell, Salman Rushdie and Molly Ringwald all take their turn at the mic
Pakistani women come out fighting: A hard-hitting play focuses on female Muslim boxers

Pakistani women come out fighting

Hard-hitting new play 'No Guts, No Heart, No Glory' focuses on female Muslim boxers
Leonora Carrington transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star

Surreal deal: Leonora Carrington

The artist transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star
LGBT History Month: Pupils discuss topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage

Education: LGBT History Month

Pupils have been discussing topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage
11 best gel eyeliners

Go bold this season: 11 best gel eyeliners

Use an ink pot eyeliner to go bold on the eyes with this season's feline flicked winged liner
Cricket World Cup 2015: Tournament runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

Cricket World Cup runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

The tournament has reached its halfway mark and scores of 300 and amazing catches abound. One thing never changes, though – everyone loves beating England
Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Heptathlete ready to jump at first major title

Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Ready to jump at first major title

After her 2014 was ruined by injury, 21-year-old Briton is leading pentathlete going into this week’s European Indoors. Now she intends to turn form into gold
Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot