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Page last updated at 18:49 GMT, Monday, 11 January 2010

Ivory Coast 0-0 Burkina Faso

By Dave Lee

Ivory Coast captain Didier Drogba (L) duels for the ball with Burkina Faso's Mamadou Kere
Didier Drogba was unable to breach Burkina Faso's back line

Tournament favourites Ivory Coast were left ruing missed opportunities as they were held to a disappointing 0-0 draw by Burkina Faso in Group B in Cabinda.

Bakari Kone missed several chances as the Ivorians, who had an early penalty appeal turned down, dominated the Africa Cup of Nations game throughout.

The best chance came in the 68th minute when Kone dragged an easy chance wide.

It means the Ivory Coast may now need a win against Ghana if they are to progress to the knockout stages.

Group B now consists of three sides following Togo's decision to pull out of the tournament following Friday's gun attack on the team's bus.

Three people were killed and several players injured during the incident, which took place in Cabinda.

Burkina Faso defended deeply for much of the game against Ivory Coast, only venturing forward on the counter-attack, and failed to register a shot on goal in the first half.

Their only chance in the first period arose from a committed run and cross from Jonathan Pitroipa, but the ball was scrambled out of harm's way by the Ivorian defence.

Ivory Coast peppered the Burkina Faso goal in the closing stages, but failed to make their superiority count.

BBC African Footballer of the Year Didier Drogba set up the Elephants' best chance of the first half, deftly playing through Bakari Kone who directed his shot straight at the goalkeeper.

Earlier, Bakari Kone had headed a decent chance wide after a whipped cross from the impressive Gervinho after 16 minutes.

The Ivorians will have felt hard done by in the 20th minute when the referee denied Drogba a penalty when he was tripped in the penalty area by Mamadou Tall.

The second half heralded more of the same, with the Elephants heavily dictating the pace in the early stages.

In the 55th minute, a long-range Bakari Kone shot whistled past the upright.

As the game passed the hour mark, Burkina Faso began to go forward, but although Pitroipa looked lively they never looked like outwitting the Ivory Coast defence.

A fierce long-range free kick from Moumouni Dagano in the 67th minute did trouble Boubacar Barry in the Ivorian goal, but he managed to dive low to his left to save.

Galatasaray's Abdulkader Keita nearly struck for Ivory Coast in the 77th minute when his cross drifted towards goal - only to be tipped over by a Burkinabe goalkeeper Daouda Diakite.

A hatful of scrappy but unconvincing chances were seen off as Burkina Faso registered a shock draw.

Burkina Faso coach Paulo Duarte was pleased with the result, especially after seeing his side lose twice to Ivory Coast during Nations Cup qualifiers.

Salomon Kalou (R) duels for the ball with Burkina Faso defender Paul Kaba Koulibaly
The late introduction of Kalou, right, didn't reverse Ivorian fortunes.

"During those two games I had opted for a very offensive strategy and we lost," he said. "Tonight, we didn't make a great match, but I won one point."

Ivory Coast coach Vahid Halilhodzic admitted his team faces a tough task to reach the quarter-finals.

"We are now in a very difficult situation, but we still have all the cards in our hands and I know we can go through."

Ivorian captain Drogba says the emotions raised after the attack on the Togo team bus played heavily on the players' minds.

"After what happened a few days ago it was difficult to concentrate," the Chelsea striker said after the game.

"We do not forget what happened but now the competition has started and we try to focus on the games."

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see also
Romaric dropped by Ivory Coast
23 Dec 09 |  African
Drogba wins BBC's African award
08 Jan 10 |  African
Elephants coach fears for Drogba
01 Jan 10 |  African
Africa Cup of Nations fixtures
07 Jan 10 |  African
Africa Cup of Nations tables
07 Jan 10 |  African

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