Cote d’Ivoire storm into final

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    SUPERMAN . . . Cote d'Ivoire skipper Yaya Toure leads the celebration after his wonder goal against the Democratic Republic of Congo in the semi-final of the Nations Cup last night. — (Picture by John Manzongo)

    SUPERMAN . . . Cote d’Ivoire skipper Yaya Toure leads the celebration after his wonder goal against the Democratic Republic of Congo in the semi-final of the Nations Cup last night. — (Picture by John Manzongo)

    BATA. — Goals from Yaya Toure and Gervinho helped steer Cote d’Ivoire into the African Nations Cup final in a 3-1 win over Democratic Republic of Congo in the Estadio de Bata last night.

    Toure blasted home a missile-like shot after 21 minutes to give the Ivorians the lead but ahandball allowed Dieumerci Mbokani to equalise from the penalty spot three minutes later.

    Gervinho had an effort cleared off the line in the 40th minute but the Ivorians won back the ball and caught the Congolese defence cold with Wilfried Bony setting up Gervinho to sweep home less than a minute later.

    Defender Wilfried Kanon added a third midway through the second half with a rebound from a corner.

    Ivory Coast will play in Sunday’s final in Bata against Equatorial Guinea or Ghana who meet in the second semifinal in Malabo tonight

    The DRC were first off the blocks with Ivoirian ‘keeper Sylvain Gbohouo producing a double save to keep out Jeremy Bokila and Dieumerci Mbokani in the sixth minute.

    However, it was the West Africans who opened the scoring with a trademark Yaya Toure thunderbolt in the 21st minute — his first goal of the tournament.

    Lurking inside the D-Area, the reigning continental Footballer of the Year met a loose ball with a powerful connection that gave diving opposition captain and goalminder Robert Kidiaba no chance.

    But the celebrations were short-lived as a handling offence at the other end handed the underdogs a lifeline.

    Up-stepped the dangerous Mbokani to coolly snatch the equaliser from the penalty spot albeit Gbohouo diving the right way.

    The remainder of the half was an end-to-affair that had the Estadio de Bata crowd on the edge of their seats but it was Cote d’Ivoire bad boy-turned-match-winner attacker, Gervinho, who capitalised on wayward passing by the Congolese to round off a counter-attacking move to curl the ball beyond a badly-exposed Kidiaba in the 41st minute.

    His effort, cleared off the line, and a timely tackle thwarting his efforts sandwiched the goal as Ivoirians.

    The second stanza had the Congolese eager for an equaliser and their efforts nearly bore fruit only for Gbohouo to dive lowly to save a Yannick Bolasie grounder with his feet.

    Kidiaba also had to be at his best for Congo to deny Toure a second goal in the 59th minute.

    Incessant pressure paid off in the 68th minute as defender Wilfried Kanon secured a third from a corner kick. The 1992 champions were out of sight thanks to the effort. — Reuters/CAJ News.