Ivory Coast bounce back to form ahead of Bafana Afcon clash

Stuart Baxter, coach of South Africa during the 2019 TOTAL African Cup of Nations South Africa training at the Steyn City School, Johannesburg on the 07 June 2019
Stuart Baxter, coach of South Africa during the 2019 TOTAL African Cup of Nations South Africa training at the Steyn City School, Johannesburg on the 07 June 2019
Image: ©Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

Ivory Coast have bounced back to form with a morale-boosting 4-1 victory over Zambia in their final warm-up match before they take on Bafana Bafana in their Africa Cup of Nations opener on Monday.

The Ivorians had been poor in a 1-0 loss to Uganda at the weekend‚ and fell behind again to Zambia as Fashion Sakala out Chipolopolo ahead with an early spot-kick in the clash in Abu Dhabi.

But unlike against the Ugandans‚ when west Africans battled to find any cutting edge going forward‚ they found their spark as Jonathan Kodjia and Jean-Michael Seri scored before halftime to give them a 2-1 lead at the break.

Kodjia’s goal came after a fast break from Lille forward Nicolas Pepe‚ who netted 22 Ligue goals last season and is a real dangerman for Bafana‚ both as a scorer and creator of goals.

Seri took advantage of a fine centre from Tottenham Hotspur fullback Serge Aurier.

Lyon forward Maxwel Cornet extended the advantage after halftime with a half-volley from another Aurier cross‚ before a late goal from Wilfried Bony added the cherry on top as Ivory Coast went route one with a punt down field from goalkeeper Sylvain Gbohouo.

It was a good run-out for the Ivorians‚ while Bafana Bafana were forced to play a game among themselves after Angola cancelled a proposed training match at the last minute on Wednesday.

Bafana open their Nations Cup campaign against the Ivorians on Monday at the Al Salam Stadium in Cairo at 16h30‚ in what is expected to be close to 40 degree temperatures.

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