Ivory Coast Vs. Burkina Faso, 2012 Africa Cup Of Nations: Elephants Made To Sweat, But Win 2-0

The Ivory Coast managed to advance to the knockout stages of the Africa Cup of Nations against minnows Burkina Faso but were made to work far harder than their status as pre-tournament favourites would have indicated. With Yaya Toure and Gervinho both more or less anonymous for the Elephants, Burkina Faso had plenty of the play and came very close to getting something out of the match.

It looked as though the game would be a cakewalk for the Ivory Coast in the very early stages when their Chelsea contingent linked up for a great goal*, with Didier Drogba doing very well to get a cross away while under pressure from multiple defenders and Salomon Kalou finishing smartly on the half-volley. However, Burkina Faso slowly drew the sting out of the Ivory Coast's attack, began to keep hold of the ball, and even made a few noises towards Boubacar Barry's goal in the first half through long-range shots by Alain Traore.

*Although by that point Burkina Faso had already been denied a sure penalty when Jonathan Pitroipa was hacked down by Soulyemane Bamba.

The Elephants had chances to pull away, but unfortunately they were mostly falling to Gervinho, who continued his Arsenal habit of pulling embarrassing misses out of sure goal-scoring situations. Their problems at the top were compounded when goalscorer Kalou went down with a hamstring injury shortly after the hour mark, further reducing their firepower.

Burkina Faso seemed to take encouragement from the Ivory Coast's failure to kill them off, with Traore again testing Barry before a header by Dagano bounced off the deck and rattled the crossbar, but a freak own goal by Bakary Kone killed off any hope of a comeback, the Lyon man floating a backwards header over a despairing Daouda Diakite and into the top corner to make it 2-0 with less than ten minutes left.

The loss condemns Burkina Faso to dropping out of the Africa Cup of Nations at the first hurdle with zero points from their first two games, but it confirms the Ivory Coast's place in the quarterfinals.

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