Kodjio celebrates the lone strike

AFCON 2019 (Group D)

  • Cote d’Ivoire 1-0 South Africa

Cote D’Ivoire kicked off the 2019 AFCON campaign with a slim 1-0 win over South Africa at the Al Salam Stadium, Cairo on Monday evening.

Aston Villa gangly forward Jonathan Adjo Kodjia netted the lone strike on the sunny evening whose soaring temperatures reached 37 degrees centigrade.

The opening 45 minutes of the closely contested physical duel ended goal-less until the breakthrough moment in the 64th minute.

Kodjio celebrates the lone strike

There were a couple of half chances in the opening half.

Nicolas Pepe set up  Adjo who mis-kicked inside the goal area on three minutes.

South Africa replied when Hlanti crossed and Thulani header missed by inches.

Die Serey Gnozaroua Geoffrory (shirt 20) is closed down by Mokotjo Kamohelo

The closest moment forCote d’Ivoire fell to Pepe, whose free-kick off the left curled ball hit the cross bar.

Adjo was denied by Bafana Bafana goalie Williams during a one against one incident.

Themba Zwane (shirt 11) is closed down by Cote D’Ivoire’s Pepe Nicolas

Cote D’Ivoire called for their first change of the game.

Jean Michael Seri was pulled for as Dazet Wilfried Armel Zaha came on after 68 minutes.

With a quarter of an hour left South Africa introduced Sibusiso Vilakazi for Maboe.

A teasing free kick by Hlanti was headed out for safety by the Ivorian defence.

Ismael Traore controls the ball during the game

Gangly forward Lars Veldwijk came on for Lebo Mothiba  in South Africa’s second change with 8 minutes to play.

Under the final minute, Pepe’s free-kick was parried away for a corner kick as the West Africans eyed for a killer punch.

Serge Alain Stephane Aurier was named man of the match.

Kamohelo Mokotjo (left) is tackled by Cote D’Ivoire’s Ismael Traore

This group returns to action on Friday.

South Africa will play neighbours Namibia and Cote D’Ivoire will face Morocco.

Team Line Ups:

Cote D’Ivoire XI: Guelassiognon Slyvain Gbohouo (G.K), Wonlo Coulibaly, Serge Wilfried Kanon, Ismael Abdoul Rahman Rock Traore, Franck Yannick Kessie, Jean Michael Seri, Jonathan Adjo Kodjia, Max Alain Gradel, Serge Alain Stephane Aurier (Captain), Nicolas Pepe, Die Gnozaroua Geoffroy Serey

Subs: Tape Ira (G.K), Badra Ali Sangare (G.K), Souleyman Keli Doumbia, Jean Philippe Gbamin, Bekanty Victorien Angban, Dazet Wilfried Armel Zaha, Ghaly Albert Maxwel Cornet, Wilfried Claver Djapone Assale, Ibrahim Sangare, Cheick Ibrahim Comara, Bagayoko Mamadou

Head coach: Ibrahima Kamara (France)

South Africa XI: Ronwen Hayden Williams (G.K), Wilson Bulebuyeza Mkhwanazi, Innocent Thamasanqa Mkhize, Lebohang Kgosana Maboe, Leo Mothiba, Themba Zwane, Kamohelo Mokotjo, Thulani Hlatshwayo (Captain), Dean Furman, Sandile S’fiso Hlanti, Percy Tau Muzi

Subs: Darren Keet (G.K), Sakhile Innocent Frances Maela, Daniel Antonio Cardoso, Ramahlwe Mphahele, Bongani Zungu, Thulani Caleb Serero, Samuel Tiyani Mabunda, Bruce Hlamulo Bvuma, Sibusiso Vilakazi, Hlompho Alpenus Kekana, Lars Veldwijk, Thembinkosi Christopher Lorch

Head coach: Stuart Baxter (United Kingdom)

Match Officials:

  • Center Referee: Mustapha Ghorbal (Algeria)
  • Assistant Referee 1: Abdelhak Etchiali (Algeria)
  • Assistant Referee 2: Mokrane Gourari (Algeria)
  • Fourth Official: Beida Dahane (Mauritania)
  • Commissioner: Said Belkhayat (Morocco)
  • General Coordinator: Kemel Tokabaev (Kazakhsatan)
Cote D’Ivoire fans singing in the stands at Al Salam Stadium

David Isabirye is a senior staff writer for Kawowo Sports where he covers most of the major events.

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