Monday Oct 11, 2021. 21:00
Ivory Coast overcame Malawi 2-1 in the 2022 FIFA World Cup qualification Group D match at Stade de l’Amitié in Benin on Monday evening.
The win elevated the Elephants to the top of the group standings with two games left, while the Flames remained third on the table with their ambitions of reaching the finals having ended.
The Elephants were looking to complete a double against Malawi having claimed a comprehensive 3-0 victory over the Flames during the two teams’ Group D clash in South Africa on Friday.
The Ivorians got off to the perfect start as Nicholas Pepe hit the back of the net to hand the hosts a 1-0 lead just two minutes into the game after the Malawian defence failed to clear Eric Bailly’s long ball.
However, the goal did not deter the Flames as they surged forward and they managed to level matters after a mistake by Ivory Coast captain Serge Aurier 10 minutes before the half-hour mark.
The former Paris Saint Germain (PSG) right-back lost possession in a dangerous area and Khuda Muyaba made no mistake as he beat goalkeeper Sylvain Gbohouo, and the score was 1-1 at half-time.
The Elephants were determined to restore their lead with their coach Patrice Beaumelle having pulled out Aurier and he placed him with Habib Maiga prior to the start of the second-half.
The Malawian defence was under pressure which saw Dennis Chembezi concede a foul in the visitors’ box as he brought down the troublesome Gervinho in the area and the hosts were awarded a penalty
Franck Kessie then stepped up and beat keeper Brighton Muntahli from the penalty spot to hand Ivory Coast a 2-1 lead seven minutes after the hour-mark and it was his fifth goal for the Elephants.
Ivory Coast then defended very well in the closing proceedings and they ran out 2-1 winners over Malawi on the night.
Ivory Coast (1) 2 (Pepe 2′, Kessie 67′)
Malawi (1) 1 (Muyaba 20′)
Ivory Coast: Gbohouo, Aurier (Maiga 46′), Bailly, Boly, Konan, Sangare, Kessie, Seri (Boga 75′), Pepe, Zaha (Gradel 74′), Gervinho (Koume 74′).
Malawi: Munthali, Sanudi, Cholopi, Chembezi, Petro, Chirwa, Idana (G.Phiri 66′), Mhango (Chester 31′), P. Banda, Madinga (Nyoni 69′), Muyaba.