COLOMBIA 2-1 COTE D’IVORIE
THURSDAY 19TH JUNE – BRAZILIA
Colombia climbed to the top of Group B with a 2-1 win over Cote d’Ivorie with second-half goals from James Rodriguez and Juan Fernando Quintero gave Los Cafeteros a two-goal lead, cancelling out any hopes of a point for the Ivorians after Gervinho’s solo effort.
After both sides experienced victories in their opening games, with the Ivorians defeating beating Japan and Colombia demolishing Greece 3-0. Ivory Coast made one change to their side, replacing former Chelsea winger Salomon Kalou with former Leicester City and Leeds United star Max Gradel.
The first 45 minutes had great intensity and excitement but neither goalkeeper were troubled. The Africans had the better of the ball in the first half, but struggled to create any clear cut chances. However, the best chance came Colombia’s way. Breaking on the counter, the ever impressive Juan Cuadrado, who today signed for Fiorentina, played into Rodriguez, who in turn squared for Teofilo Gutierrez who unfortunately scuffed his shot yards out.
After the interval, the picked up where it left off, with Yaya Toure and Gradel both getting in good positions for the Ivory Coast before Cuadrado saw a shot from the right tipped onto the far post by Ivorian stopper Boubacar Barry.
Meanwhile, it was the sea of yellow that was celebrating with James Rodriguez meeting Cuadrado’s corner with a powerful header just after the hour mark.
Ivory Coast searched of the equaliser, but were caught out by Colombia’s counter attack. Six minutes after the first goal, an Ivory Coast corner turned into a Colombian attack that culminated in Gutierrez playing in young substitute Juan Fernando Quintero to calmly slot past Barry to double the lead. Rodriguez once again perfectly demonstrated his skills in the buildup, with the Monaco man at the heart of the move, carrying the ball at pace before offloading to Gutierrez.
Colombia sat back as they looked to hold onto the two goal cushion but the game took a twist four minutes later, with former Arsenal winger Gervinho on a mazy run beating two defenders from the left, before firing in at the near post, finishing a frenzied ten minutes of action.
Veteran striker Didier Drogba was brought on for Ivory Coast and the Ivorians threatened with his presence but Colombia held firm and camer away with the 2-1 win that makes Los Cafeteros top the group.
COLOMBIA: Ospina, Zapata, Yepes, Sanchez, Armero (Arias 72), Aguilar (Meija 79), Zuniga, Gutierrez, Rodriguez, Cuadrado, Ibarbo (Quintero 53).
GOALS: Rodriguez 64, Quintero 70.
COTE D’IVORIE: Barry, Aurier, Zokora, Bamba, Boka, Tiote, Yaya Touré, Gradel (Kalou 67), Serey Die (Bolly 73), Bony (Drogba 60), Gervinho.
GOALS: Gervinho 73.
BOOKINGS: Zokora 55, Tiote 90.
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