Africa Cup of Nations 2013: Yaya Toure’s Ivory Coast thrash Tunisia
Africa Cup of Nations 2013: Ivory Coast announce arrival at the tournament with an emphatic victory over Tunisia in Group D
Resurgent Ivory Coast have one foot in the Africa Cup of Nations quarter-finals after Premier League duo Gervinho and Yaya Toure scored in a comfortable Group D defeat of Tunisia.
The tournament favourites improved on an unconvincing win against Togo thanks to goals from the Arsenal striker, Manchester City’s Toure and substitute Didier Ya Konan.
Salomon Kalou, in for former Chelsea team-mate Didier Drogba, had a great chance to put the Elephants in front on 13 minutes but headed over from Romaric’s cross.
Kalou blazed over the bar from Traore’s header down five minutes later despite having time and space in the area.
Moez Ben Cherifa did well to keep the scores level in the 20th minute, saving smartly from Traore after Gervinho played him in behind the defence.
The deadlock was broken within a minute though, Traore and Gervinho again combining with a neat one-two before the latter finished coolly into the top corner.
With half-time approaching, Ivory Coast felt they should have had a penalty when the ball struck Khalil Chammam’s hand in the area but it was deemed to be accidental.
Traore could have doubled the Elephants’ lead three minutes after the restart but was unable to control his header as he arrived unmarked six yards out.
Tunisia, missing injured star striker Issam Jemaa, looked more positive after the break and Saber Khelifa shot wide in the 49th minute.
Shortly after, at the other end, Kalou netted but referee Rajin Seechurn’s whistle had already gone as Gervinho was wrongly flagged offside running on to Traore’s through ball.
Drogba was introduced for Traore midway through the half, and nearly made an immediate impact, just failing to control Gervinho’s pass six-yards out.
With five minutes remaining, Khelifa could have snatched a point, but volleyed straight at Boubacar Barry from 15 yards.
Toure secured the win with a curling 20-yard strike on 87 minutes though, and Konan sealed the rout three minutes later, finishing calmly with his first touch.
Hatem Trabelsi’s side now need a result against Togo if they are to reach the quarter-finals for the fifth time in six Afcon tournaments.