Ivory Coast edge Gabon to open three-point lead

Ivory Coast edge Gabon to open three-point lead
Seko Fofana of Ivory Coast ©Loveness Bernard/BackpagePix

by Austin Ditlhobolo

Friday Jun 07, 2024. 22:47

Ivory Coast had to dig deep to secure a 1-0 victory over Gabon in the 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifying match played at the Amadou Gon Coulibaly Stadium in Korhogo on Friday.

As a result, the Elephants open a three-point lead atop the Group F standings while the Panthers remain second on the table. Ivory Coast will be keen to maintain their 100% win record in the group by securing a victory away to Kenya on 11 June and Gabon will be keen to return to winning ways when they host The Gambia on the same day.

The Elephants were the better side from the start with Seko Fofana looking lively as he carried the hosts forward with his powerful runs from midfield. The Saudi Arabia-based midfielder was involved when the deadlock was broken in the 36th minute.

Franck Kessie set up Seko Fokana who made no mistake as he beat goalkeeper Loyce Mbaba to hand the hosts the lead – much to the delight of the home crowd. Ivory Coast were leading 1-0 during the half-time break thanks to Seko Fofana’s seventh goal for his nation.

Gabon struggled to create chances after the restart and coach Thierry Mouyouma decided to introduce Turkey-based attacking midfielder David Sambissa as the Panthers searched for the equalising goal with 67 minutes played.

Both teams launched attacks in the latter stages of the encounter as the Elephants looked to kill off the match with a goal while the Panthers looked to snatch a late equalising goal. However, the goal never came and the match ended in a 1-0 win in favour of Ivory Coast.

Ivory Coast (1) 1 (Seko Fofana 36′)

Gabon (0) 0

Ivory Coast: Y.Fofana, Konan (Operi 86′), Agbadou, Kossounou, Ndicka, Singo, Seko (Ekomie 65′), Kessié, Seri (Diomande 77′), Diakité (Latte Lath 86′), Haller (Adingra 65′).

Gabon: Mbaba; Obiang (Sambissa 67′), Ecuele Manga, Moucketou, Ekomie (Appindangoye 67), Lemina, Allevinah, Kanga (Bocoum 89′),  Bithege, Bouanga (Meye 89′), Aubameyang.

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