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AFCON 2021: Gradel Stunner Gives Cote d’Ivoire Victory Over Equatorial Guinea

Channels Television  
Updated January 12, 2022

Ivory Coast’s forward Max-Alain Gradel (R) celebrates with teammate after scoring a goal during the Group E Africa Cup of Nations (CAN) 2021 football match between Equatorial Guinea and Ivory Coast at Stade de Japoma in Douala on January 12, 2022. CHARLY TRIBALLEAU / AFP

 

A stunning early strike by Max-Alain Gradel gave Cote d’Ivoire a 1-0 win over Equatorial Guinea in their opening game of the Africa Cup of Nations in Douala on Wednesday.

Gradel, the former Bournemouth and Saint-Etienne winger who now plays club football in Turkey, fired home an unstoppable shot from 20 metres in the fifth minute at the Japoma Stadium that proved enough for the Elephants.


An Ivory Coast supporter cheers prior to the Group E Africa Cup of Nations (CAN) 2021 football match between Equatorial Guinea and Ivory Coast at Stade de Japoma in Douala on January 12, 2022. CHARLY TRIBALLEAU / AFP

 

The 34-year-old, whose father died shortly before the start of the tournament, appeared to be in tears as his teammates came across to celebrate the goal.

It is the ideal start for the 2015 African champions in Group E after reigning champions Algeria were held to a 0-0 draw by Sierra Leone at the same venue on Tuesday.

The Ivorians play Sierra Leone in their next match on Sunday, before Algeria take on Equatorial Guinea.

READ ALSO: Jallow Strike Gives Gambia Winning AFCON Debut


An Ivory Coast supporter cheers prior to the Group E Africa Cup of Nations (CAN) 2021 football match between Equatorial Guinea and Ivory Coast at Stade de Japoma in Douala on January 12, 2022. CHARLY TRIBALLEAU / AFP

 

The result also maintains the average of just one goal per game across the tournament with every side now having played once.

Since hosts Cameroon beat Burkina Faso 2-1 in the opening match on Sunday, there have been two goalless draws and the remaining nine encounters have all been decided by a single goal.

AFP