Côte d’Ivoire offensive in the second half comes to life, as they comeback to beat Japan on Saturday night.
Byline : Jorge Belon, Editor in Chief
RECIFE— Two goals in two minutes and by a pair of headers for the Ivory Coast turns defeat into success, but midfielder Gervinho goal completed the comeback in the 66 minute, and gave Les Éléphants the 2-1 victory over Japan.
The Elephants defender Serge Aurier saw Gervinho running into the heart of the penalty box. Aurier immediately crossed the ball, and placed it right on the head of Gervinho.
The Roma striker composed himself quickly as the ball approached him fast, and headed the ball low. The ball bounced into the bottom right hand corner of the net, to give the Ivory Coast the eventual 2-1 victory in the 66 minute.
However, the Japanese would be the first team to score. A breathtaking goal from the attacking midfielder Keisuke Honda in the 16 minute, gave Japan a 1-0 lead.
Honda received the ball near the center of the penalty box. He took a quick step towards the net with the ball, and with his left foot he blasted the ball into the roof of the net. The Ivory Coast goalie Boubacar Barry was left hopeless by the powerful shot from Honda.
Japan however, was not satisfied with the early 1-0 lead; they kept on pushing to extend the lead in the first half, but were unlucky and entered the break with just a one goal lead.
In the second half though, the game changed and it was the Ivory Coast who was attacking. The slim lead for Japan would evaporate early in the second half.
At the 64 minute Wilfried Bony headed in the tying goal, but the perfect cross was delivered by Aurier. The striker was hovering around the box, and Aurier placed the ball right to his forehead, leaving Bony to just making contact with the ball to score the goal, and make it 1-1.
Japan seemed stunned and out of breath from the sudden sense of urgency from The Elephants. It only got worse two minutes later for them, when Gervinho scored the winning goal. The young Japanese team was unable to recover from the two minute barrage, and the Ivory Coast left game one with the 2-1 victory.
“We have to give credit to the Ivory Coast – they had a great game,” Japan’s Head Coach Alberto Zaccheroni, told The Telelgraph. “We started well but could not hold on to the lead. The Ivory Coast players are very talented.”
Japan will have a chance to rebound against Greece on Thursday, June 19. The must win match for Japan will be played at the Estadio das Dunas in Natal.
The Ivory Coast could potentially clinch a place for the next round with a victory over current first place team Colombia on Thursday as well. The Elephants will play their second match at the Estadio Nacional in Brasilia.
The highlights for this match can be seen on this link http://espn.go.com/video/clip?id=intl:1882674, video provided by ESPN FC.