Kodjia goal hands Ivorians victory in Cup of Nations opener

Tuesday, 2019-06-25 06:08:51
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Soccer Football - Africa Cup of Nations 2019 - Group D - Ivory Coast v South Africa - Al Salam Stadium, Cairo, Egypt - June 24, 2019 Ivory Coast's Jonathan Kodjia celebrates scoring their first goal. (Reuters)
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Striker Jonathan Kodjia struck 26 minutes from time to hand the Ivory Coast a 1-0 win over South Africa as the two former champions kicked off their Africa Cup of Nations campaign in searing heat on Monday.

Kodjia squandered several earlier chances before finally breaking the deadlock in the 64th minute of the Group D match at the Al Salam Stadium in the capital’s suburbs.

The Ivorians join Morocco, who edged Namibia with a last gasp goal on Sunday, at the top of the group standings.

Angola salvaged a surprise but deserved 1-1 draw against an uninspired Tunisia after Djalma Campos cancelled out a Youssef Msakni penalty in their Africa Cup of Nations opener on Monday.

Tunisia went ahead against the run of play in the 34th minute of the Group E match when Msakni fired his spot kick into the roof of the net after Naim Sliti was upended by Salomao Paizo.

But Tunisia, firm favourites to win the group, failed to build on the lead and Djalma made them pay by snapping up a rebound after Tunisia goalkeeper Farouk Ben Mustapha failed to hold a shot in the 73rd minute.

Mali produced three stunning goals as they thumped Africa Cup of Nations debutants Mauritania 4-1 in their Group E clash on Monday, handing their neighbours a harsh lesson in their first-ever match at the finals.