African Cup of Nations 2012: Ivory Coast 2 – 0 Burkina Faso
The game kicked off at a fairly slow pace to begin with, and in the early minutes Burkina Faso had some lovely early touches on the ball without doing much with it.
The first real action of the game came in the sixth minute with Burkina Faso had a shout for a penalty denied by the referee in one of his only good decisions of the half. Star man Jonathan Pitroipa ran into the box with the ball and went down under a Sol Bamba challenge. At first glance, it looked like a stonewall foul but the replays showed Bamba just got the ball before the man and the Leciester defender rightfully went unpunished.
The game continued to plod along after that, and nothing of note happened until the 16th when Chelsea man Salomon Kalou fired the Ivory Coast in front. Didier Drobga whipped the ball across the box from the right wing, and poor defending from Burkina Faso was punished when the ball fell straight to Kalou, who didn’t hesitate to volley the ball home.
Burkina Faso were the better team after the goal, but did not take any real advantage of their dominance. Alain Traore went close three times but poor finishing continually let him down. Despite this, Les Elephants looked dangerous and had they not been wasteful with the ball in the final third, they probably would have scored again.
The referee was poor throughout the half and stopped the game flowing with poor decisions, pedantically booking players and giving needless fouls.
The first half finished with chances for both teams, Drogba with a shot from long range which the keeper managed to spill straight to Gervinho but he was penalised for offside. The Burkinabes then went up the field and a delightful cross by Pitriopa was begging for Dagano to stick his head on it but the defence stood firm and managed to stop him.
The game jumped into life almost as soon as the second half kicked off, within 90 seconds Pitriopa managed to make some space inside the box after a lovely run down the wing, but he fell over before he could take his shot. From this, the Ivory Coast sprang up the other end and should have went 2-0 up when Didier Drogba turned his marker inside out with a lovely turn before squaring the ball to Gervinho, who managed to completely miss the ball with his swipe at it.
Traore then went close again with a fierce shot from about 22 yards but it was straight at the keeper and easily saved.
In the 59th minute, Gervinho again transpired to miss another sitter when from point blank range, he managed to scoop the ball over the bar. Maybe he had money on 1-0. A few minutes later Ivory Coast broke away with the ball after a Burkina Faso corner, Kalou did most of the running before sliding the ball to Drogba who got a good shot on target but it was well saved.
This was their last real chance of the game, as Burkina Faso started to push for the equaliser, knowing a loss would knock them out of the competition. Dagano hit the bar with a header in the 71st minute, and I daresay he should actually have scored from it. He had another chance in the 79th minute with another header but this time it went straight to the goalie.
The game was over as a contest in the 82th minute when Les Elephants went 2-0 up. After a disasterous mistake in his first game led to a goal, Bakary Kone went one better and scored an own goal. He attempted to header the ball backwards to his goalkeeper facing the opposing way from him, but looped the ball over Diakite instead to settle the game.
The Ivory Coast qualify with a game to spare, while for Burkina Faso, the tournament ends after their next game.