Herve hails his side for defeating Algeria

By sportsnewsarena correspondent
Feb 02, 2022

Ivory Coast coach Herve Renard on Sunday hailed his side's 3-1 2015 CAF Africa Cup of Nations quarter-final win over a much-fancied Algeria team in Malabo.

"I think we have beaten the best team in the tournament. We needed to be very well organised and try to counter a team who are very strong individually," said Renard after seeing Manchester City striker Wilfried Bony score twice and Gervinho once in Equatorial Guinea's capital.

Bony bagged a brace either side of a Hilal Soudani leveller for the Algerians, but Gervinho's late goal sealed the Elephants' place in the semi-finals, where they will take on Congo DR on Wednesday.

"We had a spell just before their goal where we were struggling, but we reorganised the team, and with players like Gervinho going forward we will always have the opportunities to make the difference," added Renard. "In football you can't afford to think you are better than you are.

You need to choose the tactics to fit the quality of players at your disposal. I was all the more impressed with Algeria watching from the side of the pitch, but we're not going to apologise for winning 3-1. "When I was with Zambia, the Ivory Coast were better than us but we won on penalties (in the 2012 Cup of Nations final). You need to be realistic in football and put in place the tactics to win a game."

On his scoring return to the side after a two-game suspension, Gervinho said: "I am happy to be back. I had been waiting for this moment and I am happy to have the confidence of the coach. Not everything was perfect but overall it was a good match."

Algeria bested by Ivory Coast Christian Gourcuff claimed that his side had been the better team despite the 3-1 loss. "It was not the best team that won. I can't reproach the players for anything. We had a good few chances that we didn't take," said the Frenchman after their quarter-final exit.

"The Soudani chance in particular was a great one, and the goal we lost at the set-piece was cruel. If we played the same game ten times we wouldn't lose it ten times," added Gourcuff, whose team ended up facing the Ivorians after finishing second behind Ghana in Group C.

"I think the regret we can have is the goal we lost at the end against Ghana (a 1-0 defeat), which led to us playing the Ivory Coast. But the way we dominated against the Ivorians gives us plenty of hope."

Ivory Coast storms the semis

A brace of headers from Wilfried Bony helped take Ivory Coast into the last four  with a 3-1 win over Algeria. The recent Manchester City signing was quiet during the group stage in Equatorial Guinea but came to life to help the Elephants to victory in this quarter-final showdown.

He got his first goal of the competition on 26 minutes to put the Ivorians in front and then headed in the crucial second goal midway through the second half after Hilal Soudani had equalised for Algeria. Gervinho scored in the final minutes to secure the win Ivory Coast exacted revenge for their dramatic defeat to Algeria in extra-time at the same stage of the 2010 Cup of Nations in Angola.

Herve Renard's side will now take on DR Congo in the semi-finals in Bata on Wednesday as they chase their first continental title since 1992, with the winner of that facing either Equatorial Guinea or Ghana in the final itself.

Meanwhile, Algeria go home having ultimately failed to live up to their billing as pre-tournament favourites.

Renard made just one change from the side that beat Cameroon in midweek to qualify for the knockout stage, with Seydou Doumbia making way for Gervinho, who was available again after a two-game ban Algeria coach Christian Gourcuff went with the same team as that which beat Senegal 2-0 in their last group game, and it was the Desert Warriors who started the brighter at the Estadio de Malabo, with Soudani forcing an early save from Sylvain Gbohouo in the Ivorian goal.

However, the Ivory Coast front three started to come to life after Max-Alain Gradel moved across to the right flank, switching sides with Gervinho. The little Saint-Etienne winger cut inside before firing a shot just wide to signal the Elephants' emergence as an attacking threat.

Midway through the first half they came closer still, Serge Aurier leaping at the back post to head a Gradel free-kick against the post with Rais M'Bolhi in the Algeria goal beaten. And the breakthrough arrived 26 minutes in, Eric Bailly driving into the opposition half and finding Gradel, whose cross to the back post was headed in by Bony as the Algerians appealed in vain for offside.

Saphir Taider and Faouzi Ghoulam both tried their luck from range but Gourcuff's side were unable to find an equaliser before the interval.

Nevertheless, they needed only six minutes after the restart to restore parity, with the help of some questionable Ivorian defending. Gbohouo came off his line to try to meet a long ball downfield only to hesitate, and Bailly then failed to clear a Riyad Mahrez cutback from the left, allowing Soudani an easy finish.

However, Gbohouo redeemed himself with a remarkable save to deny Soudani from point-blank range as the striker tried to help a Yacine Brahimi shot into the net. The Ivorians took full advantage as they went back in front on 68 minutes, Bony leaping to head in a free-kick from his new Manchester City colleague Yaya Toure.

Gbohouo was called into action again four minutes from time to keep out a Ghoulam free-kick as Algeria pushed forward, but it was the Ivorians who scored again as Gervinho finished off a counter-attack in stoppage time.