Saturday Nov 13, 2021. 23:18
Ivory Coast overcame Mozambique 3-0 in the 2022 FIFA World Cup qualification Group D match at the Stade de l’Amitié in Benin on Saturday night.
The win saw Elephants move up to the top of the group standings – a point above second-placed Cameroon with one game left, while the winless Mambas remained fourth on the table.
The Elephants got off to the perfect start as they broke the deadlock just 10 minutes into the match through the experienced Max-Alain Gradel after a brilliant team move by Patrice Beaumelle’s charges.
Jean-Michael Seri played a great pass to Maxwel Cornet, who then delivered a low cross for Gradel and the Sivasspor star fired home from close range to hand Ivory Coast a 1-0 lead and it was his 15th goal for the Elephants.
The Elephants were pressing the Mambas defence forcing the visitors to commit mistakes and Sebastian Haller was fantastically denied by goalkeeper Ernan after the Ajax Amsterdam striker was sent through on goal just after the half-hour mark.
However, the last chance of the first-half fell for Gildo Lourenço, who burst into the hosts’ box, but the Mozambican star’s left-footed shot went inches wide of the target just before half-time and the score was 1-0 to Ivory Coast at half-time.
The Mambas started the second-half brightly with Luis Miquissone forcing goalkeeper Sylvain Gbohouo into a fantastic diving save after the Elephants’ defence was caught ball watching a few minutes after the restart.
This served as a wake up call for the hosts and they responded with a goal as Gradel turned from goalscorer to provider. The former Leeds United winger’s quality cross was headed home by Cornet to make it 2-0 to Ivory Coast in the 61st minute.
Clesio and Geraldo were introduced by Mozambique head coach Chiquinho Conde as the Mambas looked to pull one back and set up a nervy finish for Ivory Coast in the closing stages of the encounter.
However, the hosts did not sit back and defend as they launched attacks, and they extended their lead in the 90th minute as Yohan Boli set up Seri, who beat his marker before scoring with a low shot to seal Ivory Coast’s 3-0 win on the night.
Ivory Coast (1) 3 (Gradel 10′, Cornet 61′, Seri 90′)
Mozambique (0) 0
Ivory Coast: Gbohouo, Aurier (Maiga 86′), Diomandé, Kossonou, Kamara, Kessié (Die 77′), Traorè, Seri, Gradel (Kouassi 70′), Cornet (Pepe 70′), Haller (Boli 85′).
Mozambique: Ernan, Zainadine Júnior, Reinildo, Witi, Fidel, Martinho, Dominguês, Gildo Lourenço (Reginaldo 60′), Luis Miquissone (Clesio 72′), Kambala, Geny (Geraldo 72′).