World Cup - Group C
Ivory CoastIvory Coast2JapanJapan1

Ivory Coast 2-1 Japan

Highlights: Ivory Coast 2-1 Japan

Ivory Coast scored two goals in as many minutes to come from behind and get their World Cup campaign off to a winning start with victory over Japan.

The Elephants trailed to a stunning Keisuke Honda strike in the first half.

But the introduction of Didier Drogba as a substitute inspired the comeback, with Wilfried Bony equalising after meeting Serge Aurier's cross.

Aurier also provided the cross for former Arsenal forward Gervinho to head home the winner.

The victory at Recife's Arena Pernambuco moved Ivory Coast level on three points at the top of Group C with Colombia, who beat Greece 3-0.

Ivory Coast, appearing in their third World Cup, have never gone past the group stage but will fancy their chances after a spirited performance.

However, it all looked to be going wrong for manager Sabri Lamouchi, who surprisingly left out former Chelsea striker Drogba and saw his side fall behind.

Asian champions Japan - the first team to qualify for the World Cup - were sharp and nimble in possession and took the lead with a goal of real quality from Honda on 16 minutes.

The AC Milan midfielder collected a pass across the box, took one touch and then drove home powerfully into the top corner with his left foot.

Gervinho (left) celebrates scoring with Didier Drogba as Ivory Coast came from behind to beat Japan at the World Cup
Gervinho failed to score during Ivory Coast's World Cup qualifying campaign

Ivory Coast had their moments, with midfielder Yaya Toure showing occasional glimpses of his destructive power, while Bony was guilty of wasting several chances.

But shortly after Drogba's introduction, the Swansea strike equalised, leaping to glance a fizzing Aurier cross into the far corner.

Two minutes later, another drilled Aurier centre was met by Gervinho and his header squirmed past Japan goalkeeper Eiji Kawashima.

Drogba twice went close to finding the net in the closing stages as Lamouchi's side finished strongly to leave Japan with an uphill battle to stay in the tournament.

Ivory Coast coach Sabri Lamouchi:

"The players are very happy with the victory but we are far from being qualified.

"We did not start very well in the game, conceding the first goal from a careless mistake, then we created many good chances.

"Having a player like Didier Drogba in the team, or among the substitutes, changes a game."

Japan boss Alberto Zaccheroni:

"We have to give credit to the Ivory Coast - they had a great game.

"We did not put them under enough pressure. We were not aggressive enough. We could not play as we normally do, especially in the second half after conceding the two goals.

"We have to do better in order to reach the knockout round, because today we did not do enough."

Line-ups

Ivory Coast

Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 1Barry
  • 17Aurier
  • 3BokaSubstituted forDjakpaat 75'minutes
  • 20Gonzaroua DieSubstituted forDrogbaat 62'minutes
  • 5ZokoraBooked at 58mins
  • 22BambaBooked at 54mins
  • 8Kalou
  • 9Tioté
  • 12BonySubstituted forYa Konanat 78'minutes
  • 19Y Touré
  • 10Kouassi

Substitutes

  • 2Diarrassouba
  • 4K Touré
  • 6Bolly
  • 7Akpa-Akpro
  • 11Drogba
  • 13Ya Konan
  • 14Diomande
  • 15Gradel
  • 16Gbohouo
  • 18Djakpa
  • 21Sio
  • 23Mandé

Japan

Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 1Kawashima
  • 2Uchida
  • 5Nagatomo
  • 17HasebeSubstituted forEndoat 54'minutes
  • 6MorishigeBooked at 64mins
  • 22YoshidaBooked at 23mins
  • 9Okazaki
  • 16Yamaguchi
  • 18OsakoSubstituted forOkuboat 67'minutes
  • 4Honda
  • 10KagawaSubstituted forKakitaniat 86'minutes

Substitutes

  • 3G Sakai
  • 7Endo
  • 8Kiyotake
  • 11Kakitani
  • 12Nishikawa
  • 13Okubo
  • 14Aoyama
  • 15Konno
  • 19Inoha
  • 20Saito
  • 21H Sakai
  • 23Gonda
Referee:
Enrique Osses
Attendance:
40,267

Match Stats

Home TeamIvory CoastAway TeamJapan
Possession
Home58%
Away42%
Shots
Home21
Away7
Shots on Target
Home5
Away2
Corners
Home8
Away5
Fouls
Home12
Away13

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Côte d'Ivoire 2, Japan 1.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Côte d'Ivoire 2, Japan 1.

  3. Post update

    Delay over. They are ready to continue.

  4. Post update

    Delay in match Didier Ya Konan (Côte d'Ivoire) because of an injury.

  5. Post update

    Delay over. They are ready to continue.

  6. Post update

    Delay in match Didier Ya Konan (Côte d'Ivoire) because of an injury.

  7. Post update

    Hand ball by Didier Drogba (Côte d'Ivoire).

  8. Post update

    Corner, Côte d'Ivoire. Conceded by Masato Morishige.

  9. Post update

    Corner, Côte d'Ivoire. Conceded by Masato Morishige.

  10. Post update

    Corner, Côte d'Ivoire. Conceded by Eiji Kawashima.

  11. Post update

    Didier Ya Konan (Côte d'Ivoire) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  12. Post update

    Foul by Yasuhito Endo (Japan).

  13. Post update

    Corner, Japan. Conceded by Serge Aurier.

  14. Substitution

    Substitution, Japan. Yoichiro Kakitani replaces Shinji Kagawa.

  15. Post update

    Offside, Côte d'Ivoire. Didier Zokora tries a through ball, but Gervinho is caught offside.

  16. Post update

    Corner, Côte d'Ivoire. Conceded by Masato Morishige.

  17. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Didier Drogba (Côte d'Ivoire) left footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Salomon Kalou.

  18. Post update

    Gervinho (Côte d'Ivoire) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  19. Post update

    Foul by Yuto Nagatomo (Japan).

  20. Post update

    Foul by Didier Drogba (Côte d'Ivoire).

As It Stood

A

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Brazil11003123
2Mexico11001013
3Cameroon100101-10
4Croatia100113-20

B

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Netherlands11005143
2Chile11003123
3Australia100113-20
4Spain100115-40

C

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Colombia11003033
2Ivory Coast11002113
3Japan100112-10
4Greece100103-30

D

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Costa Rica11003123
2Italy11002113
3England100112-10
4Uruguay100113-20

E

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1France11003033
2Switzerland11002113
3Ecuador100112-10
4Honduras100103-30

F

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Argentina00000000
2Bos-Herze00000000
3Iran00000000
4Nigeria00000000

G

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Germany00000000
2Portugal00000000
3Ghana00000000
4USA00000000

H

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Belgium00000000
2Algeria00000000
3Russia00000000
4South Korea00000000
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