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.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Voices
Ukip leader Nigel Farage arrives at the Rochester by-election count
voicesIs it any wonder that Thornberry, Miliband, and Cameron have no idea about ordinary everyday life?
Sport
sportComment: Win or lose Hamilton represents the best of Britain
Life and Style
tech
Sport
Arsene Wenger reacts during Arsenal's 2-1 defeat to Swansea
footballMan United and Arsenal meet on Saturday with both clubs this time languishing outside the top four
News
i100BBC political editor Nick Robinson had a lot of explaining to do
Life and Style
Nappies could have advice on them to encourage mothers and fathers to talk to their babies more often
newsTalking to babies can improve their language and vocabulary skills
Sport
Tony Bellew holds two inflatable plastic sheep at the weigh-in for his rematch with Nathan Cleverly
boxingGrudge match takes place on Saturday night
Arts and Entertainment
Mark Ronson at PS1
arts + ents
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

US immigration: President Obama ready to press ahead with long-promised plan to overhaul 'broken system' - but will it get past a Republican-controlled Congress?

Immigration: Obama's final frontier

The President is ready to press ahead with the long-promised plan to overhaul America's 'broken system' - but will it get past a Republican-controlled Congress?
Bill Cosby rape allegations explained: Why are these allegations coming out now? Why didn’t these women come forward earlier? And why has nobody taken legal action?

Bill Cosby rape allegations explained

Why are these allegations coming out now? Why has nobody taken legal action? And what happens next for the man once thought of as 'America's Dad'
Four years of excruciating seizures caused by the 1cm tapeworm found burrowing through a man's brain

You know that headache you’ve got?

Four years of excruciating seizures caused by the 1cm tapeworm found burrowing through a man's brain
Travelling to work by scooter is faster than walking and less sweaty than cycling, so why aren’t we all doing it?

Scoot commute

Travelling to work by scooter is faster than walking and less sweaty than cycling, so why aren’t we all doing it?
Paul Robeson: The story of how an American icon was driven to death to be told in film

The Paul Robeson story

How an American icon was driven to death to be told in film
10 best satellite navigation systems

Never get lost again: 10 best satellite navigation systems

Keep your vehicle going in the right direction with a clever device
Paul Scholes column: England must learn to keep possession and dictate games before they are exposed by the likes of Germany and Brazil

Paul Scholes column

England must learn to keep possession and dictate games before they are exposed by the likes of Germany and Brazil
Michael Dawson: I’ll thank Spurs after we win says defender as he prepares to return with Hull

Michael Dawson: I’ll thank Spurs after we win

Hull defender faces his struggling former club on Sunday ready to show what they are missing. But he says he will always be grateful to Tottenham
Frank Warren column: Dr Wu has big plans for the professionals yet he should stick to the amateur game

Frank Warren column

Dr Wu has big plans for the professionals yet he should stick to the amateur game
Synagogue attack: Fear unites both sides of Jerusalem as minister warns restoring quiet could take 'months'

Terror unites Jerusalem after synagogue attack

Rising violence and increased police patrols have left residents of all faiths looking over their shoulders
Medecins sans Frontieres: The Ebola crisis has them in the headlines, but their work goes far beyond West Africa

'How do you carry on? You have to...'

The Ebola crisis has Medecins sans Frontieres in the headlines, but their work goes far beyond West Africa
Isis extends its deadly reach with suicide bombing in Kurdish capital

Isis extends its deadly reach with suicide bombing in Kurdish capital

Residents in what was Iraq’s safest city fear an increase in jihadist attacks, reports Patrick Cockburn
Underwater photography competition winners 2014 - in pictures

'Mysterious and inviting' shot of diver wins photography competition

Stunning image of cenote in Mexico takes top prize
Sir John Major: Negative West End portrayals of politicians put people off voting

Sir John Major hits out at theatres

Negative West End portrayals of politicians put people off voting
Kicking Barbie's butt: How the growth of 3D printing enabled me to make an army of custom-made figurines

Kicking Barbie's butt

How the growth of 3D printing enabled toy-designer to make an army of custom-made figurines