DROGBA NAMED FIFA MAN OF THE MATCH
Win not enough for Ivory Coast
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.
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.