Wilfried Zaha strikes as the Elephants book quarter-final against Algeria

By Ayebare Mariam

Ivory Coast forward Wilfried Zaha gave his side a 1-0 win over Mali in their Africa Cup of Nations round of 16 match on Monday after their opponents had dominated most of the game and missed a flurry of chances.

Zaha, who had barely featured in the match until that point, took advantage as the Mali got into a terrible mess from an Ivory Coast goal kick in the 76th minute to earn his side a barely deserved win and quarter-final tie against Algeria.

Mali, unbeaten in the group stage, had played with verve and skill as they took their southern neighbours apart in the first half with Moussa Djenepo and Abdoulaye Diaby causing all sorts of trouble down the flanks and Moussa Marega a constant threat in attack. 

Zaha is facing an uncertain club future but is managing to successfully put all the talk to one side as he chases glory with the national team. 

Ivory Coast are searching for their first Africa Cup of Nations title since 2015, and with tournament holders Cameroon already out, the confidence in their ranks is growing fast.

Zaha and Co will come up against a familiar face in Riyad Mahrez next up as Algeria hold out hope they can end the Elephants’ campaign at the quarter-final stage.  

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