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Ivory Coast 1-0 Sudan

By Peter Okwoche
BBC Sport

Ivory Coast's Elephants
Drogba is mobbed by colleagues after scoring Ivory Coast's match-winner

Ivory Coast got their Africa Cup of Nations campaign off to a winning start against a very stubborn Sudan.

Captain Didier Drogba powerfully headed in from Salomon Kalou's cross but it was not a convincing display from one of the pre-tournament favourites.

Sudan will be happy with their performance as they frustrated an Ivory coast side that included an array of European-based stars.

Ivory Coast will hope to do better in their next game against Burkina Faso.

Right from kick-off, it was obvious that Sudan had set up to disrupt the Ivorian's flow of play.

The Nile Crocodiles, 120th in Fifa's world rankings, seemed content to sit behind the ball and soak up the pressure when the Elephants came forward.

On the few times that the Ivorians managed to get the ball into Sudan's 18-yard box, they were wasteful with their final ball, with Arsenal forward Gervinho missing a good chance early on.

It took Ivory Coast a while to get into their rhythm, and although they strung some good passes together in midfield, they were less threatening in the final third of the park.

But just as it looked like both teams would go into the interval level, Drogba rose to meet a brilliant cross from Kalou and beat Elmuez Maghoub in the Sudanese goal for his 51st international goal.

Sudan came out in the second half more attack minded and were almost rewarded when Eltaib Mudather's cracking shot was turned onto the crossbar by Ivory Coast goalkeeper Boubacar Barry.

Mudather, who was getting more dangerous as they game wore on, saw another shot go narrowly wide, while at the other end Gervinho and Drogba both hit shots well wide.

The Elephants will be content to win their first Group B game but have much to improve on if they are to live up to their pre-tournament billing.

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see also
Burkina Faso 1-2 Angola
22 Jan 12 |  African
Nations Cup Day 2 as it happened
22 Jan 12 |  African
Group B preview
20 Jan 12 |  African

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