Host Ivory Coast open Africa Cup of Nations 2023 at the Alassane Ouattara Arena by beating Guinea-Bissau by 2-0; with Seko Fofana opening the scoring in the fourth minute before Jean-Philippe Krasso multiplied the lead 13 minutes into the final part.
Goals in one or the other half from Seko Fofana (4) and Jean-Philippe Krasso (58) in Abidjan did the ‘sorcery’ as the Elephants made an ideal start to Group A.
Fofana gave his side an early lead with a wonderful shot from the edge of the box before Krasso compensated for a previous miss when he acrobatically got a second not long before the hour.
Against a Guinea-Bissau team that has not won any of its ten Africa Cup of Nations matches, the Ivorians were always favorites.
The hosts began their mission optimistically before a hopeful 60,000 crowd.
It was a far-from-perfect performance from the hosts and Guinea-Bissau were left to rue several missed opportunities, but Ivory Coast coach Jean-Louis Gasset will know the three points are all that matters at this early stage of the tournament.
Fofana twisted his shot into the top corner from 20 yards, settling the nerves of the home players and their fans. Yet, after the Ivorians’ quick beginning, Guinea-Bissau sunk into the challenge and created a couple of fine opportunities but failed to convert.
Forward Mama Balde went for a fantastic bike kick when he could have picked a header before he had a brilliant opportunity to level with an unmistakable sudden spike in demand for goal, but his shot was feeble and handily saved by Yahia Fofana.
Seko Fofana came near a second goal when his strong drive from the edge of the box was tipped onto the crossbar by Guinea-Bissau’s Ouparine Djoco, who was an unexpected choice over normal goalkeeper Jonas Mendes.
When Jonathan Bamba fed Krasso in the box, the hosts created another excellent opening before the break, but the striker turned the ball wide.
Guinea-Bissau began the second half on an aggresive note yet over and over again their last pass was poor and they squandered promising opportunities.
The home side doubled their advantage after 58 minutes when Krasso profited from some hesitant defending and took two touches before acrobatically rifling the ball into the net.
Guinea-Bissau had half-chances after that yet have now extended their run of games without an objective at the Africa Cup of Countries finals to eight.
On January 18, Ivory Coast will face Nigeria in their second Group A match at the Alassane Ouattara Stadium; which starts off at 5pm.
Up next for Guinea-Bissau in Group A will be a game with Equatorial Guinea at Alassane Ouattara stadium on the same day at the earlier time of 2pm.
Meanwhile, Seko Fofana was named Man Of The Match in the opening Game.