LONDON (Reuters) – Max Gradel scored a superb first-half goal as Ivory Coast beat Cameroon 1-0 in Group D of the African Nations Cup on Wednesday to progress to the quarter-finals and eliminate their opponents.

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Herve Renard’s side will now advance to meet Group C runners-up Algeria, while Guinea and Mali, who played out a 1-1 draw in Mongomo, face the drawing of lots in Malabo tomorrow to decide who faces Group C winners Ghana on Sunday as group runners-up.

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Gradel profited from a mistake by stand-in right-back Jerome Guihoata to snatch possession, before firing a powerful strike just inside Fabrice Ondoa’s right post on 35 minutes.

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The St Etienne winger scored Ivory Coast’s equaliser in their second Nations Cup match against Mali on Sunday and was the game’s outstanding individual in Malabo.

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Cameroon manager Volker Finke dropped striker Vincent Aboubakar ahead of the match, replacing him with Franck Etoundi, who made his first competitive start for the national side.

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Both sides tried to grab the initiative in the opening stages with Ivory Coast looking particularly menacing.

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Gradel’s delivery from corners and free kicks put pressure on Cameroon’s defence and forced Fabrice Ondoa into a series of saves.

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Ivory Coast lost young centre back Eric Bertrand Bailly to injury inside the first half hour, but they did not suffer for the loss.

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They comfortably contained Cameroon, although Edgar Salli did go close after crafting a chance for himself with the final kick of the first half.

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The often-criticised Ivorian defence held firm during the second period as Cameroon failed to find an equaliser.

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The Elephants will face Algeria in Malabo on Sunday.