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TotalEnergies AFCON2024: Hosts Cote d’Ivoire open with impressive win over Guinea Bissau

IN a fervent stadium atmosphere electrified by the passionate cheers of local fans, Côte d’Ivoire commenced their TotalEnergies CAF Africa Cup of Nations journey with a resounding victory, triumphing 2-0 over Guinea-Bissau in Saturday night’s inaugural match in the capital Abidjan.

The Elephants wasted no time in establishing dominance on their home turf, the Stade Olympique Alassane Ouattara, seizing the lead a mere four minutes into the encounter through the prowess of Seko Fofana. The Lens midfielder seized upon a loose ball outside the box, unleashing a sublime strike that soared beyond the grasp of goalkeeper Jonas Mendes.

Fofana, displaying an appetite for more, nearly secured a second goal, only to witness his powerful effort ricochet off the crossbar at the 35-minute mark, leaving Côte d’Ivoire in control as they concluded the first half.

While Guinea-Bissau occasionally posed a threat on the counter, the Ivorian squad maintained a firm grip on proceedings throughout the second half. The hosts justified their dominance by further extending their advantage just before the hour mark, with substitute Jean-Philippe Krasso delivering an acrobatic finish after an impressive setup by Jonathan Bamba.

Krasso’s clinical execution left no room for doubt, sealing the victory for Côte d’Ivoire in their tournament opener. As they now prepare for a more formidable challenge against three-time champions Nigeria in their next Group A match on Wednesday, the Elephants exhibit a composed performance that suggests the squad possesses the depth and quality to pursue long-awaited continental glory on their home soil.

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With key contributors like Fofana and the in-form striker Sebastien Haller, Côte d’Ivoire is poised to rely on their array of talent throughout the tournament. Based on this commanding opening display, the prospect of clinching the AFCON 2023 crown seems well within reach for the determined hosts.

By The African Mirror