AFCON 2019: Kodjia sends Ivorians coasting over Bafana Bafana
London, June 24, 2019 (AltAfrica)-Ivory Coast secured a hard-fought 1-0 victory over South Africa in their maiden 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) Group D match at the Al Salam Stadium in Egypt on Monday afternoon.
The lone goal by Aston Villa forward Jonathan Kodjia struck in the second half ensure as former champions Cote d’Ivoire got off to a winning start in their opening Group D match
It is the Elephants’ first-ever victory over Bafana Bafana, with the two former Afcon champions having met seven times.
Kodjia made amends after missing a sitter in the first half to slip the ball between South African keeper Ronwen Williams’ feet and give the Ivorians the much needed three points to inject some belief into their campaign for a third AFCON title.
Despite a slow start, Cote d’Ivoire had some brilliant opportunities to break the deadlock within the opening 45 minutes of the game.
On-form Lille forward Nicolas Pepe was the most exciting in the Ivorian side with his runs on either wing and in the 31st minute he came close to breaking the deadlock when his well curled freekick came against the crossbar
#TotalAFCON2019 – RESULT:
Ivory Coast 1-0 South Africa
Bafana Bafana went down to a strong Ivory Coast outfit in their first #AFCON2019 clash. This is the West African’s first win over South Africa in their history.2415:23 PM – Jun 24, 2019125 people are talking about thisTwitter Ads info and privacy
The South Africa captain connected with Kamohelo Mokotjo’s cross which was well-saved by Sylvain Gbohouo in Ivory Coast’s goal-posts in the 19th minute.
Ivory Coast were awarded a free-kick in a promising area following a period of sustained pressure.
Nicolas Pepe then stepped up and hit the crossbar with Ronwen Williams well-beaten in South Africa’s goal-posts just before the half-hour mark.
The momentum was with the Elephants and Jonathan Kodjia was sent through on goal in the 32nd minute, with the Bafana defence exposed.
However, Williams produced a great save to deny the Aston Villa player from a one-on-one situation as the shot-stopper kept the Ivorians at bay.
Ivory Coast and South Africa were locked at 0-0 at the interval.View image on Twitter
Both teams launched attacks after the restart as they looked to open the scoring in the first 15 minutes of the second half, but they were struggling to create clear-cut chances.
The deadlock was broken in the 65th minute after the South Africa defence was exposed and they were punished by Kodjia.
The experienced marksman found himself in a one-on-one situation with Williams and he beat the SuperSport United player with a low shot to make it 1-0 to Ivory Coast.
South Africa had to find a way to penetrate the Ivory Coast defence and level matters in the remaining minutes of the game.
Attack-minded duo Sibusiso Vilakazi and Lars Veldwijk were both introduced by Bafana coach Stuart Baxter with time running out.
However, the Elephants did not sit back and defend their slender lead as they pushed forward, and they were awarded a free-kick in a promising area.
Pepe stepped up and unleashed a powerful shot which was brilliantly tipped over the crossbar by Williams in the last minute of the match.
South Africa then launched late attacks, but Ivory Coast stood firm at the back in the closing stages of the match and ultimately the Elephants secured a 1-0 victory over Bafana.