Ivory Coast Spank Niger To Book Nations Cup Place

By Ibrahim Taiwo, The Nigerian Voice Sports
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Ivory Coast thrashed Niger 3-0 in the 2022 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualification Group K match at the Stade Général Seyni Kountché in Niamey on Friday evening.

The result saw the Elephants climb to the top of the group standings and they also qualified for the finals, while the Menas remained fourth on the table and their hopes of qualifying were diminished.

The Elephants launched attacks from the first whistle and they deservedly opened the scoring five minutes before the half-hour mark through their captain Serge Aurier.

The Tottenham Hotspur fullback beat Niger goalkeeper Daouda Kassaly with a low shot to make it 1-0 to Ivory Coast and it was his third international goal.

The visitors did not take their foot off the pedal after taking the lead as they continued to push forward in numbers and they managed to double their lead through speedy attacker Max Gradel.

The 33-year-old winger hit the back of the net four minutes after the half-hour mark to make it 2-0 to Ivory Coast after the Menas defence was exposed.

The score was 2-0 to Ivory Coast during the half-time break.

The Elephants continued where they left off in the first half and they extended their lead through their towering centre back Wilfried Kanon on the hour-mark.

The Qatar-based defender found the back of the net to hand Ivory Coast a 3-0 lead with influential right-back Aurier providing the assist.

Ibrahim Issa, who is a striker by trade, was then introduced by the Menas as they looked to pull one back, but the hosts struggled to penetrate the Elephants' tight defence.

The visitors did not sit back and defend in the latter stages of the game as coach Patrice Beaumelle introduced highly-rated attacker Wilfried Zaha.

However, the encounter ended in a 3-0 victory in favour of Ivory Coast, who were able to contain Niger in the dying minutes of the match. (Supersport)