World Cup - Gervinho and Bony strike as Ivory Coast sink Japan

World Cup Group C, Arena Pernambuco, Recife, Ivory Coast 2 (Bony 64, Gervinho 66) Japan 1 (Honda 16)

World Cup - Greece, Ivory Coast hope for third time lucky

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Ivory Coast's forward Gervinho (L) celebrates with Ivory Coast's forward and captain Didier Drogba after scoring during a Group C football match between Ivory Coast and Japan at the Pernambuco Arena in Recife during the 2014 FIFA World Cup (AFP)

Gervinho headed the winner as Ivory Coast scored a quick-fire double to come from behind and beat Japan 2-1 in their Group C clash in Recife.

The former Arsenal forward nodded in Serge Aurier's delicious right-wing cross on 66 minutes, just seconds after the right-back had set-up Swansea's Wilfried Bony to head home.

Japan had taken the lead when Keisuke Honda thundered home an unstoppable left-foot shot from just inside the area after the Elephants had gone to sleep at a 16th-minute corner.

The Africans dominated the first-half possession but were left lamenting some poor finishing as Bony, preferred to Didier Drogba, miscued when well-placed, while Salomon Kalou contrived to plant a free header well off target.

Ivory Coast finally turned the game on its head midway through the second period with two in two minutes and could have added to their tally late on as Drogba twice went agonisingly close.


PRE-MATCH: No Drogba. Ivory Coast spring a bit of a surprise by leaving Didier Drogba on the bench. Swansea's Wilfried Bony will be the focal point in attack with ex-Gunner Yao Gervinho and former Chelsea attacker Salomon Kalou in support. Japan opt for a 4-2-3-1 formation with Yuya Osako in attack. Man United's Shinji Kagawa plays a supporting role from midfield with Southampton's Maya Yoshida in defence.

16' - GOAL! Ivory Coast 0-1 Japan. The Elephants fail to fully clear their lines and when the ball is worked to Honda on the edge of the box he fizzes an unstoppable shot into the corner. Pick that one out!

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20' - SUPER SAVE! Uchida is given acres of space on the right of the area and cuts inside before drilling in a low shot that Barry beats away. Ivory Coast are all over the place since conceding.

39' - BIG MISS! Die picks out Bony with a clever cross from the right but the Swansea man completely mis-kicks and the ball flies harmlessly wide.

43' - IVORY COAST CHANCE. Another opportunity goes begging as Kalou plants a free header from a left-wing cross well wide. If this carries on, it wont be long until we see Drogba.

48' - WHAT A MISS! The wasteful finishing continues. A slick move sees the ball worked to the right to Kalou. His deflected cross-shot falls to Bony six yards out but he somehow heads off target with the goal gaping.

64' - GOAL! Ivory Coast 1-1 Japan. Serge Aurier curls a delicious ball into the area from the right for Bony who finally comes good with a flick header into the corner.

66'- GOAL! Ivory Coast 2-1 Japan. Ivory Coast turn the game on its head with two in two minutes! Once again Aurier is the provider from the right, whipping a ball to the near post for Gervinho to nod home at the near post.

82' - FINE SAVE! Drogba steps up and lashes a shot towards the right-hand corner but Kawashima gets across to push it out for a corner.

85' - CLOSE! A rapid break sees Kalou race down the right and tee up Drogba, who sees his low shot deflect inches wide of the far post.

TALKING POINT: Can Ivory Coast make it third time lucky? The Elephants went out at the Group stage in their two previous adventures at the World Cup, but are off to a winning start this time around. Colombia look to be their main rivals, but you wouldn't bet against a side containing the attacking talents of Yaya Toure, Gervinho, Bony and Drogba from overpowering Greece. However, judging by tonight's performance, Drogba needs to start.



Keisuke Honda has been directly involved in four of Japan’s last five World Cup strikes (three goals, one assist).

Ivory Coast have scored two headed goals in a game for first time in the World Cup history.

99 - The number of seconds that separated Ivory Coast's two goals. It's the fastest double-strike in the World cup so far.

There have been four comeback wins at the World Cup so far (from eight games) as many as in the whole of the 2010 tournament.

Serge Aurier is the second Ivory Coast player to provide two assists in a World cup game after Arthur Boka in 2010.

Ivory Coast are the first African team to record two comeback wins at World Cups (today's game + vs Serbia & Montenegro in 2006).

(Stats courtesy of Opta)


Serge Aurier (Ivory Coast): With the Elephant's big names misfiring, it was the full-back who made the significant contribution with two superb crosses for the goals. Drogba was also impressive and his arrival coincided with the recovery.


IVORY COAST: Barry 6; Boka 7, Zokora 6, Tiote 6, Aurier 8, Yaya Toure 6, Serey Die 6, Bamba 6, Kalou 6, Gervinho 7, Bony 6. Subs: Drogba 7, Djakpa 6, Konan 6.

JAPAN: Kawashima 6, Uchida 6, Yoshida 6, Nagatomo 6, Morishige 6, Kagawa 5, Yamaguchi 5, Hasebe 6, Okazaki 6, Honda 7, Osako 6. Subs: Endo 6, Okubo 6, Kakitani n/a.


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