x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Minnows thwart Drogba's Ivory Coast

The Ivorians must beat Ghana to ensure advancement in the African Cup of Nations after being held to a draw by Burkina Faso.

The Ivorian forward Didier Drogba failed to find a way through the Burkina Faso defence.
The Ivorian forward Didier Drogba failed to find a way through the Burkina Faso defence.

Ivory Coast, the tournament favourites, must beat Ghana on Thursday to ensure qualification for the quarter-finals of the African Cup of Nations after being held to a goalless draw by Burkina Faso last night. Two teams will progress from Group B following Togo's disqualification by organisers Confederaton of African Football (CAF) after they returned home ahead of their scheduled game against Ghana last night.

The reduction in teams means Ivory Coast have only the game against Ghana to ensure progression. If they lose then they would finish the group stage on just one point and Burkina Faso would go into their final game against Ghana next Tuesday needing just a point to progress. Should they win then Burkina Faso and Ghana will fight it out for the right to join them. The Ivory Coast will look at their misfiring forwards should they not go through to the knockout stages; they wasted more than a dozen chances at the Chiazi stadium in Cabina.

Bakary Kone failed to convert three clear chances and Didier Drogba was far from his brilliant best. Security was tight around the stadium with cars being searched and a police helicopter with armed officers on board circling above the area. Cabina is the breakaway region of Angola where the Togo team bus was attacked on Friday. Their players left the country on Sunday, with the CAF last night finally removing them from the competition.

Doctors in South Africa said yesterday it was too soon to say if keeper Kodjovi Obilale would play again. They have left bullet fragments in his stomach as it is to dangerous to remove them. lthornhill@thenational.ae