Drogba-less Ivory Coast extend lead at top, Senegal denied by Angola

Karim Farouk, Saturday 23 Mar 2013

The Elephants keep a firm grip on the top of Group C, Senegal's lead is cut in the World Cup qualifiers

Gervinho

 

Three second-half goals helped Ivory Coast cement their place on top of Group C of the World Cup qualifiers following a 3-0 victory over Gambia on Saturday.

The Elephants, who let talisman and skipper Didier Drogba out of their squad for the first time in more than a decade, struggled to break down the resolute visitors in the first half.

The home fans had to wait until the 48th minute for the opener. Arsenal winger Gervinho dribbled in the area and earned a penalty after being fouled by Tangkuba Ceesay. Wilfried Bony, who had a starting role in the absence of Drogba, made no mistake from the spot.

Eleven minutes later, African Player of the Year Yaya Toure doubled the lead when he met a precise cross from Cheik Tiote with a well-placed header from close range.

Gervinho, who was in a sparkling form, brilliantly skipped past two defenders to set up Salomon Kalou for the third in the 70th minute.

Ivory Coast are on top of the group with seven points, three ahead of Tanzania who will host Morocco (2 points) on Sunday.

Gambia lie at the bottom with a single point after three matches.

In Group J, Senegal suffered a major upset as they were held by Angola to a 1-1 home draw.

Amaro struck in the 75th minute to cancel out Moussa Sow's first-half lead (39) for the Teranga Lions.

Senegal are still on top of the group with five points while Angola have three points from three draws. Liberia have just one point and they will host Uganda - who have two - on Sunday.

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