Ivory Coast secured their place in the quarter finals of the African Cup of Nations after beating Burkina Faso 2-0.
An early goal from Salomon Kalou and an own goal from Bakary Kone consigned Burkina Faso to defeat and confirmed their exit from the competition.
There was one change to Les Elephants from their previous game, as Igor Lolo made way for Didier Zokora after the Trabzonspor midfielder had completed a suspension.
The six Premier League players in the Ivory Coast side attracted the crowds, but were largely disappointing; indeed, Burkina Faso coach Paulo Duarte described his team’s loss as “an incredible injustice.”
Kalou put the Ivorians ahead on the 16th minute, firing a left-footed shot from just outside the six yard box after collecting the ball from a low cross, which Yaya Toure had failed to control.
The Manchester City midfielder looked off-colour, failing to make much of an impact on the game as he has so many times for the Premier League leaders.
Alain Traore unleashed several long-range efforts for Burkina Faso as they searched for an equaliser, but hitting the side-netting was the closest he came to a goal.
Didier Drogba was industrious up front and set up Gervinho, who shot over the crossbar. The Arsenal forward has been less that prolific in recent games for his country and will need to step up if the Ivory Coast are to reach their full potential.
Max Gradel replaced Kalou after 65 minutes, the Chelsea forward pulling up with what appeared to be a muscle strain – a blow to head coach Francois Zahoui should he be unavailable for a long period.
Despite having the better of the possession, Burkina Faso could not create many goalscoring opportunities of their own. Their best chance came on the 72nd minute, when Moumouni Dagano headed against the crossbar.
The less than impressive Ivory Coast avoided a nervous finish after Kone headed past his own keeper following a deep free kick from Arthur Boka.
Zahoui will need to ensure his side steps up after progressing from the group stages. The Ivorians have managed to overcome their opponents so far with little effort, but there will be tougher challenges ahead.
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