Bony scores as Ivory Coast reaches African Cup semifinals
Feb. 01, 2015
MALABO, Equatorial Guinea (AP) — Wilfried Bony scored two goals Sunday to help give the Ivory Coast a 3-1 win over Algeria and a spot in the semifinals of the African Cup of Nations.
Bony headed in a cross from Max Gradel in the 26th minute after being left completely alone at the far post. The Manchester City forward scored another in the 68th, nodding in a free kick taken by club teammate Yaya Toure.
Gervinho, who was back after serving a two-match suspension, added a third in injury time as the Algerians pushed forward in a desperate attempt to equalize.
Hilal Soudani scored Algeria's goal in the 51st, taking a pass from Riyad Mahrez that trickled through a weak Ivory Coast defense and beating goalkeeper Sylvain Gbohouo.
The Ivorians, who won their only African Cup title in 1992, will next face Congo on Wednesday in Bata.
With Toure and Bony but without Didier Drogba, the Ivorians came into the tournament as a big favorite. They drew their opening two matches against Mali and Guinea, but beat Cameroon to win a tough Group D.
Although they are playing without Drogba, Ivory Coast still has plenty of quality throughout its squad. And it was Gradel, a midfielder who plays for Saint-Etienne, who provided some key goals in the group stage.
He came on as a substitute and scored a late equalizer against Mali, and then the winner against Cameroon a few days later.
On Sunday, it was all about Bony, who recently completed a move from Swansea to Man City shortly before the African Cup started.
"I think the Ivory Coast team is very lucky," Ivory Coast coach Herve Renard said. "He was the best scorer in England in 2014. I think when you just said that, you can explain everything."
With Drogba, the Ivorians twice reached the African Cup final, but both times lost on penalties. The last time was in 2012, when Renard led Zambia to a surprising title.