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AFCON 2023: Hosts Ivory Coast off to winning start as they beat Guinea-Bissau


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Host nation Ivory Coast began their 2023 Africa Cup of Nations journey with a 2-0 triumph against Guinea-Bissau on Saturday night in Abidjan.

Seko Fofana provided an excellent start for the Elephants in the Group A clash, netting a powerful shot from just inside the area in the fourth minute.

Despite almost doubling the lead before halftime with another compelling effort, Ouparine Djoco's save tipped the ball onto the bar.

Jean-Philippe Krasso extended the lead after the break, showcasing smart control under pressure in the box before hooking in the second goal.

Seeking their third continental triumph after victories in 1992 and 2015, the Elephants had to start their campaign without first-choice striker Sebastien Haller due to injury.

Fofana, the midfielder, broke the deadlock early on, skillfully manoeuvring past defenders and sending a powerful right-footed strike into the right-hand upright after being set up by Franck Kessie.

Guinea-Bissau's Mama Balde missed their best chance in the first half, scuffing his attempt in the box, and a crucial save by Djoco kept the score at 1-0. Krasso doubled the lead in the 58th minute, displaying impressive skill by juggling the ball and hooking in a left-footed shot from eight yards out.

In the final 20 minutes, substitute Franculino fired directly at Ivorian keeper Yahia Fofana, but the Djurtus, qualifying for a fourth consecutive Afcon, couldn't find the net and are still seeking their first win at the finals.

source: Ghanasoccernet.com