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Ivory Coast 3-0 Tunisia

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Toure: One of Africa's best

Toure: One of Africa's best

Cote d'Ivoire all but secured their place in the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations quarter-finals as they saw off Tunisia 3-0 at the Royal Bafokeng Stadium on Saturday.

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Arsenal star Gervinho opened the scoring in the first half before Yaya Toure and Didier Ya Konan wrapped up the points in the final three minutes of play.

The result takes Ivory Coast clear at the top of Group D with six points, with Tunisia on three with Togo and Algeria, both on zero, still to clash in the day's other group match.

Both sides looked sharp from the off, although it was the Elephants who attacked with more purpose, but Gervinho and Lacina Traore were twice unable to link up when threatening on the counter-attack.

Ivory Coast probably should have taken a 14th minute lead as N'Dri Romaric timed his run perfectly to get on the end of a ball over the top, but he directed his header just wide of the post after finding himself completely unmarked and one-on-one with the keeper.

Sabri Lamouchi's men began bossing the half and Salomon Kalou should have done better after a cross was cushioned down into his path, but from a few yards out the forward could only lash his shot over the crossbar.

A sublime one-handed save from Moez Ben Cherifia prevented Ivory Coast from taking a 20th minute lead as he saved point-blank from Traore, but one minute later he would be picking the ball out of his net as Gervinho was played in by a fanciful back-heel in the six-yard area before lashing his shot home from close-range.

Traore got himself into a great position to make it 2-0 after the break by beating the off-side trap to leave himself in acres of space in the area, but he almost didn't expect the ball to come through to him and it ultimately bounced out off his head.

Ivory Coast soon got the ball in the back of the net as Kalou smashed home Gervinho's cut-back, but it wouldn't count as the linesman had raised his flag for off-side. It didn't look like the Arsenal man had strayed, and replays showed he was clearly on when the ball had been played as the Tunisians got let off the hook.

Drogba thinks he's through now after running in behind the defence, but the linesman's flag is up once more for off-side, and again replays show the decision to be slightly dodgy as the former Chelsea man looked level with the last defender. Another let-off for the Tunisians.

Saber Khelifa looked destined to level the scores with four minutes as he ran in behind the defence to get on the end of a ball into the box completely unmarked, but he fired his volley straight at the goalkeeper who got gloves on the ball at the second attempt.

The Elephants turned on the style in the closing minutes as Africa's Player of the Year Yaya Toure fired home a second, trotting through on goal before unleashing a blistering shot which left the goalkeeper no chance.

One minute later and the African giants made it three, substitute Didier Ya Konan, who had been on the pitch only a matter of seconds, sent a low, curling effort home from just inside the area following some composed build-up on the edge of the area.

Posted: 26/01/13 16:55

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