Max-Alain Gradel’s goal gives Ivory Coast 1-0 win over Equatorial Guinea

Ivory Coast captain Max-Alain Gradel emotional after scoring the solitary winning goal.
Ivory Coast captain Max-Alain Gradel emotional after scoring the solitary winning goal.
Image: @CAF_Online/Twitter

Max-Alain Gradel’s early goal was enough to secure the Ivory Coast a 1-0 win over Equatorial Guinea at the Africa Cup of Nations on Wednesday but the minnows proved no pushovers in the Group E encounter.

Gradel, captaining a powerful Ivorian team that had Crystal Palace's Wilfried Zaha on the bench, struck home a powerful effort from the edge of the penalty area in the sixth minute as they made a rapid start to the clash at the Japoma Stadium.

But while Ibrahim Sangare had two chances to double the lead before halftime, Equatorial Guinea, one of Africa’s smallest countries, proved more than a match.

The minnows had several good chances as they showed little fear of their heavyweight opponents with their captain Emilio Nsue failing to convert the best of them.