A 35th minute by Max Alian Gradel on Wednesday night was enough to send Cote d’Ivoire to the quarter final of the on-going on-going Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon).
The win over arch rivals Cameroon at the Malabo Stadium means that the Elephants will now face Algeria in their quarter final match on February 1st.
Gradel who also scored against Mali in an earlier Group D match beat his marker and shot at goal to beat Cameroon’s goalkeeper Joseph Ondoa Ebogo.
Led by 2014 African Player of the Year and Manchester City midfielder Yaya Toure, Cote d’Ivoire Coast continued to press for more goals, but the defenders Jerome Guihoata, Nicolas Nkoulou and Bedimo Nsare Hehri stood firm.
Edgar Salli should have made it 1-1 at the stroke of half time but after turning well in the box he blasted the ball over the goal as Cote d’Ivoire’s goalkeeper Guelassiognon Sylvain Gbohoud looked on.
In the second half coach Renard Herve’s team came back with the anger to increase their lead, but the Cameroon team fought back strongly. Volker Finke, the Cameroon tactician made some tactical changes bringing on fresh legs onto the pitch, with Clinton Njie in particular showing flashes of brilliance.
Cote d’Ivoire continued defend tight to deny the Indomitable Lions any chance of scoring. Eric Bailly and Yaya Toure who was later substituted were cautioned by the Gambian referee Eric Arnaud Otogo Castane.
At the Mongomo Stadium, Mali missed a penalty through skipper Syedou Keita, but still fought back to draw 1-1. Kevin Constant converted a 15th minute penalty for Guinea, while Mali leveled matters after 47 minutes through Modibo Miaga.
The Confederation of African Football (CAF) will make a draw on Thursday to decide which team between Guinea and Mali takes the remaining slot for the quarters. The two teams tie in points and goals after three games.