Ivory Coast fall short against Colombia

2014-06-19 20:56

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Colombia held off a late onslaught from the Ivory Coast to secure a 2-1 victory at Estadio Nacional to leave themselves on the verge of a place in the last-16 of the 2014 World Cup.

James Rodriguez opened the scoring after 64 minutes before Juan Quintero doubled their lead only five minutes later, and although a brilliant solo goal from Gervinho on 73 minutes got the Elephants back in the game, they were unable to push on as Jose Pekerman's held out for the win.

The result left Colombia top of Group C with six points, three ahead of Cote d'Ivoire in second, while Japan and Greece are in action later in the day, with both in search of a first point at this year's South American showpiece following their respective opening day defeats.

Colombia created the first chance in Brasilia after seven minutes through Teofilo Gutierrez, although his effort fizzed narrowly wide of the upright, while moments later the forward was unable to control a brilliant ball from Rodriguez as another decent chance went begging.

Didier Zokora came within inches of diverting a delivery into the back of his own net, although the Ivorians finally started threatening at the other end midway through the first half but Gervinho was unable to control a pass from Yaya Toure following a trademark barrage through midfield from the Manchester City playmaker.

Cheick Tiote was then guilty of some wayward finishing as he blazed a shot well over the crossbar, although the closest anyone came in the half was Gutierrez as he received the ball unmarked in the six-yard area only to make a mess of the chance as he was unable to get the ball out from beneath his feet to eventually roll his effort past the post.

Both sides emerged from the tunnel for the second-half looking fired up, and shortly before the hour mark the Colombians came within a whisker of taking the lead as Juan Guillermo Cuadrado sold his marker in the area with two quick step-overs before firing in from a tight angle, although Boubacar Barry was just able to tip the ball onto the face of the crossbar before the defence mopped up.

Four minutes later, though, they got their goal, Rodriguez running in ahead of his man at the near-post to send a fizzing header through the goalkeeper's glove and into the roof of the goal.

It didn't take long for Colombia to get their second as they produced a devastating counter attack following a torrid Ivory Coast corner, with Gutierrez making up for his earlier shortcomings to break up field before slipping the ball into the path of Quintero, who took one touch to set himself before curling a sumptuous finish into the bottom corner.

The Elephants refused to lie down though and they soon pulled one back, Gervinho producing a sublime solo run to skip past no fewer than four defenders in the area before rifling his shot home, despite David Ospina getting a hand on the ball.

Ivory Coast fought tooth and nail in the final 10 minutes to find an equaliser but Colombia looked a tight unit at the back, and when Sabri Lamouchi's men did finally find a way through, Salomon Kalou was only able to curl a tame effort straight into the arms of the goalkeeper following another wonderful run and setup from Gervinho.

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