Ivory Coast go out despite 3-0 win over North Korea

Friday, June 25, 2010

NELSPRUIT - Ivory Coast beat North Korea 3-0 in the Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit Friday but still go home after finishing third in Group G of the football World Cup.

Yaya Toure scored the first on 14 minutes with a shot past Ri Myong Guk from the edge of the area. Romaric and Salomon Kalou added the second and third on 20 and 82 minutes.

Ivory Coast finished with four points behind Portugal, who have five points and go on to face the winners of Group H Tuesday in Cape Town. Group winners Brazil face Group H runners-up Monday in Johannesburg. North Korea finished at the bottom with no points.

Didier Drogba led the attack for an Ivory Coast team that needed a big win, and a heavy defeat for Portugal against Brazil in Group G’s other game.

North Korea coach Kim Jong Hun surprisingly kept faith in the side that lost 7-0 to Portugal. There was only national pride to play for with star striker Jong Tae Se still looking for his first goal.

Ivory Coast got off to an excellent start when on 14 minutes Arthur Boka crossed from the right and Yaya Toure controlled on the edge of the penalty area before shooting past Ri Myong Guk.

Midfielder Romaric shaved a post moments later and then on 20 minutes he went one better to make it 2-0. Drogba hammered a shot on to the bar and when it bounced down the Sevilla man was on hand to convert the rebound.

Hong Yong Jo went close with two free-kicks but it was one-way traffic with Drogba leading the Ivory Coast’s charge to goal. He was furious with team-mates on 38 minutes when he tricked his way past three defenders on the byline only to find no team-mates in support.

North Korea’s inexperienced defenders could not deal with the Chelsea man and Gervinho was also causing them problems. The Lille forward hit a post six minutes before half-time and then had a header saved by Ri.

To their credit North Korea kept going forward in the second half and Jong had a shot saved by Boubacar Barry as they looked to address their minus-10 goal difference.

Drogba headed just over before Jong was put through again, this time pulling his shot across the face of the Ivory Coast goal. The Africans were leaving space at the back as they went for goals, but North Korea could not capitalise.

On 64 minutes Ivory Coast coach, Sven Goran Eriksson, made a double change with Aruna Dindane and Salomon Kalou replacing Gervinho and Kader Keita.

Ivory Coast were finding it increasingly difficult to break North Korea down and Romaric resorted to shooting from distance with two efforts. Ri blocked the first, and the second sailed harmlessly over.

Kalou got closer to goal than his team-mates, but blazed over form the edge of the six-yard box.

The Chelsea man did better on 82 minutes when he connected with a long pass from Boka to turn the ball past Ri from close range for 3-0.

Dindane then thought he had turned in the fourth but the off-side flag was up and the celebrations were cut short.

On the final whistle no-one was celebrating. North Korea go home with no victories and a terrible goal difference, and Ivory Coast exit leaving Ghana as Africa’s only last-16 survivors.

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