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AFCON 2021: Ivory Coast Stun Equatorial Guinea to Top Group E
- Equatorial Guinea vs Ivory Coast Group E AFCON clash ended in a 1-0 win for The Elephants
- Max-Alain Gradel fired Ivory Coast to a vital win with a screamer inside five minutes of action
- Patrice Beaumelle men will face Sierra Leone in their next fixture before playing holders Algeria
Ivory Coast have had a bright start to their 2021 Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon after seeing off Equatorial Guinea in their Group E opener.
The Elephants stunned Equatorial Guinea 1-0 during their Wednesday, January 12, meeting at Douala Stadium.
Max-Alain Gradel's goal inside five minutes of action made all the difference as Ivory Coast secured a vital win.
Patrice Beaumelle rested a couple of key players during this meeting, with Arsenal winger Nicolas Pepe and Wilfried Zaha starting from the bench.
However, free-scoring Ajax forward Sebastien Haller was started up front but failed to justify his inclusion as he fired blanks.
Ivory Coast started the match strongly from the blow of the whistle and had their efforts rewarded in the fifth minute when Gradel fired them into the lead with a screamer.
Equatorial Guinea only managed to settle into the match after the half-hour mark but were unable to bag an equaliser into the break.
The second half of the match saw Ivory Coast assert their dominance but were unable to add a second goal as the match ended 1-0.
The win now has the 2015 AFCON champions sitting top of Group E after holders Algeria were held to a frustrating barren draw by Sierra Leone.
Meanwhile, Equatorial Guinea will be looking to get their campaign back on track when they play Algeria in their next fixture.
Salah debuts special AFCON boots
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Salah has a deal with Adidas who have now produced gold and red boot for him to wear at the continental showpiece.
The boots have "MO" marked into the back of the left boot and crown, to signify the forward's "The Egyptian King" tag on the other.