Eric Bailly of Ivory Coast clears ball from Dieudonne Bezua Mbokani of DR Congo during the 2017 African Cup of Nations Finals Afcon football match between Ivory Coast and DR Congo at the Oyem Stadium in Gabon on 20 January 2017 ©Gavin Barker/BackpagePix
Saturday Mar 23, 2019. 21:08
Ivory Coast wrapped up their 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying campaign with a comfortable 3-0 win over Rwanda at the Stade Felix Houphouet-Boigny in Abidjan on Saturday evening.
The result sees the Elephants (who had already secured qualification prior to the game) finish with 11 points in second place on the Group H log, with the pool to be finalised by the match between Guinea and hosts Central African Republic in Bangui on Sunday.
Ivory Coast claimed the ascendancy in the seventh minute with a somewhat comical goal: a ball looped over Rwanda goalkeeper Yves Kimyeni, ricocheted back off the crossbar and avoided the retreating defenders before Nicolas Pepe fired the ball home for 1-0.
The Elephants were on top and looking comfortable after the early goal, though they did suffer an injury blow when experienced defender Serge Aurier had to be replaced by Victorien Angban on the half hour mark.
The West African giants added two goals in the second half, with Manchester United defender Eric Bailly netting in the 67th minute and substitute Maxwell Cornet rounding out the scoring in the 72nd minute.
Ivory Coast have qualified to the AFCON for the 23rd time and will be amongst the favourites to claim the trophy in Egypt later this year.
Ivory Coast (1) 3 (Pepe 7’ Bailly 67’, Cornet 72’)
Ivory Coast: Gbohouo, Aurier (Angban 30’), Bailly (Traore 80’), Bamba, Gbamin, Gradel, Kanon, Kessie, Seri, Kodjia (Conet 69’), Pepe
Rwanda: Kimyeni, Djihad, Hakizimana (Rutanga 74’) , Imanishimwe, Kagere, Manzi, Nirisarike, Niyonzima, Omborgena, Rwatubyaye, Tuyisenge