Despite making a good start, The Red Samurai’s from Japan could not edge past the elephants from Ivory Coast as the Africans beat them 2 goals to 1 in pulsating encounter.
The Japanese took a deserving lead in the 16th minute through the sublime left foot of midfielder Keisuke Honda, who got the ball and some space after a quick throw in and drilled the ball into the top of the net. This triggered an Ivory Coast fight back as the strikers tried hard to equalize before the end of the half. The Japanese however held on to go into halftime with a 1-0 lead.
It was in the second half however that the game changed on its head. Striker Wilfred Bony, who was preferred to Drogba in the starting lineup scored a wonderful header in the 64th minute to make the scores 1-1. He had missed 3 chances earlier and made amends with a fine goal. Before the Japanese could recover, Gervinho doubled the score two minutes later with another headed goal to put the elephants firmly in front. Serge Aurier, who had a great game was the man who assisted both the goals.
Drogba’s introduction in the 60th minute injected life into the game and it was no wonder that they scored soon after his arrival. The legendary striker also almost scored with a fine free kick that was well saved by keeper Kawashima to keep him at bay.
Ivory Coast (Possible, 4-3-3): Barry; Aurier, K Touré, Zokora, Boka; Tioté, Y Touré, Serey Die; Bony, Drogba, Gervinho.
Japan (Possible, 4-2-3-1): Kawashima; Uchida, Yoshida, Konno, Nagatomo; Hasebe, Endo; Okazaki, Honda, Kagawa; Kakitani.
Man of the match – Serge Aurier, who helped make both goals for the Ivorians was the standout player on the field. He whipped out some fine crosses before finding Bony and Gervinho to take the Africans to the second spot in Group C.