Saturday Nov 16, 2019. 23:31
Ivory Coast opened their 2021 Africa Cup of Nations Group K campaign with a narrow 1-0 success over Niger in Abidjan, a game that was a tale of two penalties.
AC Milan midfielder Franck Kessie converted his spot-kick in the second period to seal the points in a game they largely dominated.
It was the second spot-kick of the game for the home side, after Max Gradel missed a first half chance from 12-yards as he argued furiously with Arsenal forward Nicolas Pepe over who would take the kick.
Pepe won the penalty when he was felled in the box and wanted to take it, but had the ball snatched from him by Gradel, who then saw his effort saved by Niger goalkeeper Kassaly Daouda.
Kessie was able to spare Gradel’s blushes though when the Ivorians were given a second chance from the spot after the former’s cross was handled in the box, and this time the kick was stroked confidently into the bottom corner as Kessie netted his first international goal.