Ivory Coast kicked off the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations in style, clinching a commanding 2-0 triumph against Guinea-Bissau on the tournament’s inaugural night.
Seko Fofana and Jean-Philippe Krasso’s goals propelled them to a triumphant win at the Olympic Stadium of Ebimpe, captivating a crowd of 60,000 in Abidjan.
Fofana, a companion of Cristiano Ronaldo at Al Nassr, initiated the action with a spectacular strike, providing the Elephants an early advantage. Krasso later amplified the scoring in the second half, showcasing remarkable individual skill. Starting in place of the injured Sebastien Haller, the striker skillfully controlled the ball with one touch, maneuvered past two defenders, and calmly slotted it past Ouparine Djoco.
The challenging hot and humid weather conditions in West Africa are anticipated to pose difficulties throughout the tournament, evident in the toll it took on the players during the second half. The demanding climate contributed to a noticeable decline in the players’ intensity as the game unfolded.
With hopes of a successful run, especially on home soil, the Ivorian team, under the management of Jean-Louis Gasset, boasts a formidable squad, although the exclusion of Wilfried Zaha raises questions. Despite Sebastien Haller’s absence on Saturday night due to injury, there is optimism that he could return for the upcoming second match.
Looking ahead, Ivory Coast is set to face Nigeria on Thursday, anticipating a more challenging encounter against the Super Eagles led by Napoli’s Victor Osimhen.