By Emmanuel Okogba
Hosts for the next edition of the Africa Cup of Nations, Ivory Coast, got their campaign to a flyinf start, beating Zambia 3-1 on Friday.
Although Ivory Coast have qualified by reason of being hosts, they get to also pariticpate in the qualifying games, but will concede the first spot to the second placed team if they finish top of the group.
After 67 minutes of no goals, Wilfred Zaha’s impact was immediately felt after his introduction in the second half. His attempted cross was deflected for a corner kick. A quickly taken corner by Zaha was crossed by Max Gradel into Zambia’s box and met an unmarked Serge Aurier at the backpost who thankfully tucked it into the back of the net.
Christian Kouame doubled the lead nine minutes later with a well taken header from yet another corner kick in the 75th minute.
The Elephants put the game beyond Zambia two minutes to the end of regulation time with a deserved third goal. Jean Kouassi’s pass into the box was turned home by PSV Eindhoven’s Ibrahim Sangare.
Leicster City’s Patson Daka got Zambia their consolation in the 94th minute.
The win was aslo new coach, Jean-Louis Gasset’s debut .