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Another draw leaves holders Ivory Coast in peril

Fri, 20 Jan 2017

Oyem: Ivory Coast's hopes of defending their African Nations Cup title suffered a setback after they had to settle for 2-2 draw with the Democratic Republic of Congo on Friday.

Following a goalless draw with Togo in their opening match, Friday's result left them in a perilous position in Group C as they have only two points while the Congolese top the standings with four points.

Ivorian captain Geoffroy Serey Die struck a second half equaliser with a deflected shot to keep alive their chances of advancing to the knockout phase. Only the top two clubs in each group progress to the next round.

Neeskens Kebano handed the Congolese a 10th minute lead but Wilfried Bony equalised 16 minutes later. The Congolese quickly restored their lead through Junior Kabananga before Serey Die rescued the point for the champions in the 67th minute.

The Ivorians could have snatched victory when Salomon Kalou converted a long free kick two minutes into stoppage time but was caught marginally offside.

Kabananga held up the ball perfectly to allow midfielder Kebano to strike firmly for the opener.

Bony headed just over the top from Serge Aurier's cross as the Ivorians fought back. Bony then missed another chance when he failed to react quickly after Congolese goalkeeper Ley Matampi dropped the ball.

But he did find the net in the 26th minute after jumping up to head home Max Alain Gradel's corner.

Two minutes later Kabananga found himself unmarked at the back post to head the Congolese back in front with a textbook effort as the Ivorian defence were absent.

In the second half both countries had chances with Firmin Mubele going closest for the Congolese and Aurier probing with crosses and headed chances for the Ivorians.

Serey Die fired a shot from outside the Congolese box that struck Marcel Tisserand and took a deflection to level the scores at 2-2 after 67 minutes.

The Ivorians play their final group match against Morocco in Oyem on Tuesday while the Congolese can grab top spot if they beat Togo in Port Gentil at the same time.

Morocco and Togo play in the second Group C game later on Friday. 

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