Namibia 1-4 Ivory Coast
Ivory Coast secured a last-16 spot in the Africa Cup of Nations as Arsenal target Wilfried Zaha impressed in a 4-1 Group D win over Namibia.
The Elephants went down to a 1-0 defeat against Morocco last time out and began poorly at 30 June Stadium.
Peter Shalulile should have put Namibia in front and was given a lesson in clinical finishing from Max Gradel six minutes from half-time.
Serey Die – captaining Ivory Coast in Serge Aurier’s injury absence – saw a deflected effort find the net in the 58th minute and his team progressed as runners-up behind Morocco, despite Joslin Kamatuka getting on the scoresheet for the Brave Warriors, after Zaha marked his first start of the tournament with a fine solo effort.
Lyon’s Maxwel Cornet came on to dish out further punishment to a Namibia side who started brightly.
Shalulile headed narrowly wide from Petrus Shitembi’s chipped cross in the 20th minute before forcing Sylvain Gbohouo to save with his feet.
An initially abject showing from Ibrahima Kamara’s men picked up and Gradel crashed an emphatic finish over Lloyd Kazapua in the Namibia goal, although replays showed he was fractionally offside as he darted onto Franck Kessie’s lofted throughball.
Namibia were once again on the front foot after the restart but their hopes were dashed before the hour when Serey Die’s speculative 35-yard strike glanced off Ryan Nyambe and nestled in the corner.
Ivory Coast will face the winner of Group E in the first knockout round, with Mali, Tunisia and Angola all in contention to top that section. They would do well to avoid much more of the slack defending that allowed Kamatuka to slot home in the 71st minute.
Crystal Palace star Zaha gave them breathing space with six minutes to play, jinking inside challenges and lashing home a low strike from inside the box, while substitute Cornet’s emphatic finish from 12 yards gave a further indication of the attacking firepower at Kamara’s disposal.