by Satish Sekar © Satish Sekar (June 14th 2014)
Elephants Never Forget
Sabri Lamouchi may have failed to lead the Ivory Coast to glory in the African Cup of Nations, but he saw the Elephants come from behind to beat Japan 2-1 in the last of four World Cup matches today. Japan took an early lead thanks to a neat corner to Yūto Nagatomo who squared it to Keisuke Honda who blasted it into the top corner to Boubacar Barryʼs right after 16 minutes.
Lamouchi took the courageous decision to change an ageing side that had been built around their iconic leader on the pitch Didier Drogba. But Drogbaʼs impact cannot be forgotten. He inspires those around him just by his presence. Lamouchi decided to give the captaincy to Yaya Touré, whose marauding runs forward never quite developed into testing the Japanese defence and keeper. But once Drogba came on things changed.
The Drogba Effect
Ivory Coast pressed forward, but clear chances when they came were not taken in the first half. Gervinho and Wilfried Bony could not find the net in the first half, but Didier Drogba was waiting his chance on the bench. Within five minutes of his entry to the fray the Elephants had turned the match around.
Serey Die made way for Drogba after 62 minutes. 3 minutes later, Serge Aurier got the first of his two assists an inviting cross from the right wing for Bony to head in the equaliser. Two minutes later Aurier repeated the dose, crossing for Gervinho to glance his header in to give the Elephants the lead.
Ivory Coast held on to win. The Elephants have never got out of their group in the World Cup – theyʼve had some very hard groups each time. Lamouchi must fancy his chances to achieve something Sven-Göran Eriksson couldnʼt.