Cote d’Ivoire and Angola got off their campaigns at the Orange CAN 2012 with victories in their opening matches in Malabo on Sunday.
The Elephants of Cote d’Ivoire laboured past a tough Desert Hawks of Sudan team by a lone goal whilst the Palancas Negras of Angola beat the Stallions of Burkina Faso 2-1.
Striker Didier Drogba scored the only goal of the match on 39 minutes, heading home from Salomon Kalou’s cross from the left.
With many expecting the Ivorians to haul the torchbearers of the Central and East Africa, it turned out to be the contrary as the Elephants’ supporters were forced to sit on tenterhooks throughout the game.
Six minutes before recess, luck smiled at the Elephants as Drogba headed past goalkeeper Mohammed Abdallah from Kalou well-taken cross for the opener.
Two minutes later, Ahmed Bashir was put through by Mdathir Eltaib, but the former’s shot missed narrowly to the relief of the Ivorians.
Minutes later, it was the crossbar that came to the rescue of the Ivorians after Eltaib’s shot gazed the crossbar.
The balanced second half failed to produce any goal.
Later at the same venue, Mateus broke the deadlock on 48 minutes to give Angola the lead. The Stallions responded with a spectacular curling free-kick from Alain Traore on 57 minutes.
Angola forward Manucho scored the winner with a superb drive from close range on 68 minutes. GNA