Ivory Coast opened the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations with a win over Guinea-Bissau in there tournament opener on Saturday evening.
The atmosphere was fever pitch, matching the extreme humidity of Abidjan from the moment arrived at the iconic Le stade Alassane-Ouattara, named after nations President.
The tone was set for those in attendance with a dramatic opening ceremony, FIFA President Gianni Infantino and Dr. Patrice Motsepe, the leader of the Confederation of African Football (CAF).
And when the first whistle to open the tournament was blown – the hosts, Ivory Coast showed they wanted to provide a spectacle – which they did as Seko Fofana opened the scoring with a stunner inside five minutes.
It appeared as if the Guinea-Bissau team might have been suffering from stage fright but they managed to grow into the game as the half wore on to hold their own.
But The Elephants held the bulk of the possession, chances and duly walked into the dressing room at the break holding the slender 1-0 advantage.
And they managed to sustain their momentum in the second half of which eventually paid dividends on the hour mark when Jean Phillipe Krasso doubled the lead with a poachers effort.
It was a clear punch to the gut of the visitors who fought valiantly to try and break Jean-Louis Gasset’s side but to no avail.
The win was the perfect start for the Frenchman and his troops as the home supporters left the Olympic Arena in a buoyant mood, while some even left before the final whistle – such was the confidence of the game being wrapped up.
Match report by Lorenz Kohler from Ivory Coast.