DROGBA NAMED FIFA MAN OF THE MATCH

Win not enough for Ivory Coast

Weekend Witness - - Sport -

NELSPRUIT — Didier Drogba won Fifa Man of the Match af­ter his team won their last World Cup game in group G. Drogba in­spired his side to a 3­0 vic­tory that was not enough to see the Africans through be­cause Por­tu­gal drew with Brazil. The NELSPRUIT — Ivory Coast con­vinc­ingly beat North Korea 3-0 yes­ter­day, but the com­pre­hen­sive win was not enough to pre­vent the Africans from go­ing out of the World Cup.

Need­ing a glut of goals to stand any chance of ad­vanc­ing from Group G, Ivory Coast left Salomon Kalou on the bench and opted for a three-pronged at­tack of Didier Drogba, Ger­vais Kouassi and Ab­delka­der Keita.

North Korea coach Kim Jong-hun kept faith with the same start­ing 11 that were ruth­lessly dis­man­tled 7-0 by Por­tu­gal in the pre­vi­ous game.

Goals from Yaya Toure and Ndri Ro­maric gave the Ivo­rians a 2-0 half-time lead, but it could have been five or six as North Korea strug­gled to cope with the one-way traf­fic head­ing to­wards their net.

Ri My­ong-guk was forced into ac­tion right from the kick-off, mak­ing a smart save from Keita, but there would be no respite for the North Korean goal­keeper as Ivory Coast flooded for­warded at ev­ery op­por­tu­nity.

Drogba looked in the mood from the out­set and had the ball in the net in the 11th minute, but his header was dis­al­lowed for off­side.

The Ivo­rians would not have long to wait though and in the 14th minute Toure took a pass on the edge of the area be­fore open­ing up his body and curl­ing the ball into the far corner of the net.

Ro­maric struck the out­side of the post four min­utes later, but was on hand to nod the ball home af­ter Drogba crashed a vi­cious shot off the un­der­side of the cross­bar in the 20th minute.

North Korea’s first and only chance of the first half came in the 25th minute when cap­tain Hong Yong-jo stroked a free­kick just wide of Boubacar Barry’s goal.

The west Africans picked up where they left off in the sec­ond half, Drogba send­ing a div­ing header wide and Kouassi fail­ing to con­nect with Keita’s dan­ger­ous de­liv­ery, but North Korea looked far more or­gan­ised in de­fence.

Jong Tae-se al­most pulled one back for North Korea in the 81st minute, but he could not force the ball over the line.

In­stead, Ivory Coast notched up a third when Kalou, on as a sub­sti­tute, side-footed home from close range in the 82nd minute af­ter a great cross from Arthur Boka. — Reuters.

PHOTO: AP PHOTO: AP

Chelsea man, who broke his arm in Ivory Coast’s last friendly be­fore the tour­na­ment started, but still played on wear­ing a spe­cial cast, rat­tled the cross­bar in the first half, from which Ro­maric con­verted the re­bound for the sec­ond goal. — Sapa­DPA. Yaya Toure of the Ivory Coast scores the open­ing goal dur­ing their Group G match against North Korea and Ivory Coast at the Mbombela Sta­dium in Nelspruit yes­ter­day.

Ivory Coast’s Didier Drogba waves at the end of the World Cup group G soc­cer match be­tween North Korea and Ivory Coast in Nelspruit yes­ter­day. Al­though Ivory Coast won 3­0, they are out of the com­pe­ti­tion.

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