Ivory Coast 1-0 South Africa: Africa Cup of Nations 2019 – as it happened

John Brewin on 24 June 2019

A report will follow shortly. Thanks for reading.

That's full time

A good start to the tournament in terms of a result for the Ivory Coast, less so in terms of performance. Jonathan Kodjia celebrates with fans, throwing his shirt into the crowd. South Africa were limited in outlook, and limited when having to chase down an equaliser. It could be a tough road for them to get to the last 16.


90+2 min: There were four minutes added on to the 90. South Africa not making much of a fist of forcing that final chance but a Zaha foul gives them one. Ooof, Vilakazi gets to the knockdown and smashes the ball into the sky. Euro Stu Baxter is enraged his man didn’t do better with that.

90 min: Zaha, down in the left-hand channel, forces a corner after making a weaving run to the byline. South Africa fail to get it clear and Zaha plays keep-ball in the corner, before conceding a goal kick.

89 min: Great save from Williams! Pepe gets chance to whip in a ball for a free-kick with his left foot, and and it was flying in. Only fingertips prevented it going in.

87 mins: Two more Ivorian subs: On comes Doumbia and Cornet, and off go Coulibaly and Gradel, who had already left the field in the cramp stretcher.

85 min: South Africa should have had a penalty as Veldwijk was bundled over by Traore. No VAR but it would surely have been given by our new computerised friends. VAR does not come in until the quarter-finals.

83 min: That corner came to nothing and Kessie takes it forward. Zaha gets a chance to play in Kodija but South Africa hurriedly clear. Then Gradel almost gets Kodija in and fails.

81 min: South Africa try to pick a way through and have to settle for a corner. Veldwijk comes on for Mothiba, and will be the target. He looks a big lad.

79 min: Tau, the liveliest player for South Africa, and who has been the architect of their most dangerous moments from set pieces, looks to be flagging. He gives away a tired free-kick.

77 min: Near disaster for the Ivorians as Gbohouo drops the ball from a South African cross. He gratefully drops to the floor to snaffle the ball. He has not been convincing at all.

75 min: South Africa sub at long last: Maboe for Vilakazi.

74 min: Wonlo goes down with cramp. The Algerian referee is not sympathetic, and asks him to leave the field. He does so on a stretcher, which seems excessive. A drinks break breaks out.


73 min: Europe’s Stuart Baxter is sticking to his guns, and has not made a sub just yet. His South African players’ tired legs may not thank him for that.

71 min: The Ivorian fans are now in fuller voice and grooving away in the stands. Their team has an expected if not fully deserved lead.

69 min: What can South Africa do? They haven’t shown enough in attack. They now have Zaha to contend with, as he comes on for Seri, who had a poor game.


66 min: That was what the Ivorians had been trying to do all game, and the South Africans had looked wise to. Kodija’s finish was not superb, but it was enough. Wonlo and Gradel’s contributions were crucial.

Goal! Ivory Coast 1-0 South Africa (Kodjia, 65)

At last! Wonlo plays it out to the left, and Gradel slides it across first time. This time,Kodjia cannot miss.

Jonathan Kodjia scores the opening goal.
Jonathan Kodjia scores the opening goal. Photograph: Javier Soriano/AFP/Getty Images
Jonathan Kodjia celebrates.
Jonathan Kodjia celebrates. Photograph: Gavin Barker/EPA


64 min: Traore averts danger when Tau escapes on to a long ball, and goalkeeper Gbohouo panics.


61 min: This is turgid, let’s be honest now. Kanon is booked, and he looks mystified. Footballers often look mystified when decisions go against him, but this time he was justified. He seemed to do little more than put the ball in touch. Thankfully, Aurier clears the resultant free-kick.

South Africa’s Sifiso Sandile Hlanti (R) in action against Ivory Coast’s Die Serey.
South Africa’s Sifiso Sandile Hlanti (R) in action against Ivory Coast’s Die Serey. Photograph: Khaled Elfiqi/EPA


59 min: Aurier whips in the ball but it’s cleared at the back post when Gradel was coming in dangerously.

57 min: Ouch, a heavy collision and one that could be heard around the ground. Gradel jumps into the back of Maboe. The referee, who is a real stickler, waves a yellow card. Meanwhile, Wonlo is asked to leave the field to change his shirt by the Algerian fusspot.

55 min: This time, Pepe releases the ball quickly but Kodija was looking in the other direction. This has been a poor show from the start of the second half.

54 min: When will we see Zaha? That might change things up for the Ivorians, but he will need someone to give him the ball. Meanwhile, Pepe is wasteful as he finds space. Kodjia was the out-ball, but it never got to him.


52 min: Hlanti, on a surge forwards from full-back, gets down the left, but his cross to the middle is unable to find a South African teammate.

50 min: That Ivorian midfield of Seri and Kessié, two players with big reputations, have been disappointing. Perhaps they are struggling in the heat.

49 min: Ivory Coast begin on the front foot, just as they did the first half. South Africa are again back in big numbers.

47 min: Gradel surges on and forces a corner. Mothiba, back from the front line, comes back to head the ball clear.

46 min: Aurier launches the ball immediately into touch. Not a great start though he was aiming for Pepe, which may bode better.

We are back, with the Ivorian players geeing themselves up in the tunnel. Their first half was a disappointment.

Guardian colleague Nick Ames, on location, hold a similar view of that 45 minutes, as well as kicking against the man.


That's half-time!

The heat hasn’t helped but it’s been no classic. Ivory Coast might be ahead, had Kodjia done better with the best chance of the match, but South Africa have been organised and look to have a threat at set pieces.


45 min: Two minutes added on. It’s been bitty, with our Glaswegian referee Ghorbal now asking Aurier to leave the field because of his shin socks not being correctly tethered in.

44 min: Pepe, transfer fans, has looked assured in possession and a cut above when he has the ball, supplying the moment of the match so far with that free-kick. Thing is that he hasn’t seen nearly enough of the ball.

43 min: South Africa’s latest corner causes trouble again, but they are a little slack in attack themselves. Worth pointing out that Seri, channelling his Craven Cottage self, has now been booked for lax foul in midfield.

41 min: Gradel and Pepe link but it is South Africa who instead go on the break and Gradel is forced to run back to prevent the counter becoming more dangerous.

39 min: Peter Oh relives the glory days: “Vuvuzela reverie. Ah yes, the petrol-powered leafblower/mosquito-buzzing drone of the vuvuzela. Takes me right back to the days of turning down the volume during televised matches of the 2010 World Cup.”

37 min: Kodjia is tackled on the run as another Ivorian attack breaks down. Seri has been in Fulham mode; disappointing and anonymous.


35 min: South Africa are concentrating on the set pieces for their route to goal, but have also picked up their share of possession. Ivory Coast are probably happier with that, as it allows them to play on the counter.

33 min: Close again for Ivory Coast! Kodjia is through on goal after he seizes on a header from Traore that evaded everybody. He decides to burst the back of the net and succeeds in hitting Williams, the South African goalkeeper. A waste but also a good save.

Ivory Coast’s forward Jonathan Kodjia shoots on goal.
Ivory Coast’s forward Jonathan Kodjia shoots on goal. Photograph: Khaled Desouki/AFP/Getty Images


31 min: Close! A half hour in, and it’s time for a drinks break. Much needed, too. Pepe meanwhile, slips a defender and is then fouled. An Ivorian free-kick will be whipped in by Pepe himself, who rattles the angle of bar and post.


28 min: Another South African free-kick - they are totting these up - and it’s whipped by Mothiba at Hlanti, only for an infringement to delay play.

25 min: Mothiba forces a corner. South Africa edging into this a little. It clears everyone and the ball is clippped in for Hlatshwayo to head wide. Perhaps the best chance so far but the ball was a little too high for him.


23 min: Yellow card for South Africa’s Mothiba, who barged heavily into Aurier. Looks a harsh one, not much more there than over-exuberance.

22 min: Gradel, out on the left wing, begins an attack that again comes to nothing. South Africa are doing a good job of shutting this down so far.

20 min: Hello, here’s a South Africa free-kick in the opposing half. They take it short, and try and play it short to set up an overload on the left-hand side of the box, but Zwane’s header is weak.

18 min: Ivory Coast pushing on without looking too fluent. This is not a game being played at the rarest pace; little wonder given the heat of an Egyptian summer.

South Africa’s Percy Tau, left, and Ivory Coast’s Wilfried Bony fight for the ball.
South Africa’s Percy Tau, left, and Ivory Coast’s Wilfried Bony fight for the ball. Photograph: Hassan Ammar/AP


16 min: Ivorian corner, but that comes to nothing, then a loose foul buys South Africa some breathing time. Kanon is the target on the set pieces.

14 min: South Africa actually get into the opposite half, but then kick the ball out for a throw-in. This has been a most Pulis-ian start to the tournament from them.

12 min: Die slips in Gradel, who then whips the ball in the direction of Kodija, who is prevented from getting his nut on the ball after Hlanti got a touch to it.

10 min: First shot of the game and it’s a wild one. Kessie wallops the ball miles into the empty stands.

9 min: South Africa have been, well, rather unambitious in a game of supreme caginess. From them, in any case. This is classic tournament opener stuff so far.

7 min: On Stuart Baxter’s nationality, from the man himself on the Wiki oracle: “If I’m mentioned for a job in Scotland, they call me a Scot. If I’m mentioned for a job in England, they call me an Englishman. I call myself a European.”


5 min: Ivory Coast in attack, South Africa sitting back has been the pattern of the game so far. And can be expected to continue in that vein.

3 min: First glimpse of Pepe in action as he glides forward and slides in a pass to Kodjia, who then swings and misses. The Villa striker should have done better.


2 min: Furman takes a knock from a hefty forearm smash from Kodjia. No foul given, which seems lenient.


And away we go...

The vuvuzela chorus reminds that South Africa are playing in this match....

Stuart Baxter, the South African coach, is keeping his suit jacket on in temperatures nearing 40 degrees. You can take the boy out of Scotland....

The Ivorian fans in orange are getting into the spirit of things, with some groovy moves on show ahead of kick-off.

The teams are on their way to the field and it’s time for the anthems. South Africa’s never fails to be rousing, though sounds better when there is enough of a crowd to sing along.

It has to be said there is not a huge crowd readying itself for this match; ticket sales seem to have been a problem at this tournament. It was put together at short notice, after all, and may not be readily accessible to fans from either country.

In any case, both teams have arrived at the stadium in full voice, both singing as they get off their coaches.

South Africa in the Afcon will always bring back fond memories of 1996.

The most striking team news ahead of the match. Daniel Levy might be making careful note of the value that the Ivory Coast place in Wilfried Zaha’s jewel.

The teams

Ivory Coast: Gbohouo, Aurier, Kanon, Traore, Coulibaly, Kessié, Die, Pépé, Seri, Gradel, Kodjia

Subs: Tape, Doumbia, Gbamin, Angban, Zaha, Cornet, Bony, Assalé, Comara, Bagayoko, Sangaré

South Africa: Williams, Hlanti, Mkhwanazi, Hlatshwayo, Mkhize, Mokotjo, Furman, Maboe, Zwane, Tau, Mothiba.

Subs: D. Keet, Bvuma, Cardoso, Mphahlele, Maela, Zungu, Serero, Kekana, Mabunda, Lorch, Veldwijk, Vilakazi

The referee is Algeria’s (via Glasgow?) Mustapha Ghorbal



Two former winners take to the Afcon stage in Cairo, though neither are particularly fancied to win the 2019 renewal. Ivory Coast’s line-up features plenty of Premier League experience in Wilfrieds Zaha and Bony, Serge Aurier, Max Gradel, Jean Michaël Seri and one for next season in Aston Villa’s Jonathan Kodjia. AC Milan’s Franck Kessié is another player to watch. Nicolas Pépé, of Lille, will be a name familiar to all you transfers fetishists out there; he has been linked with PSG, Liverpool and Bayern Munich.

Still, though, this is not a team to match the previous golden generation of Didier Drogba and a pair of Touré brothers that really should have done more than triumph in just win one Cup of Nations, as they did in 2015.

As for South Africa, coached by the experience of Scotsman Stuart Baxter, they feature far fewer names that have made a splash in Europe, though Percy Tau, owned by Brighton though he has never played a game for the Albion, could the man to watch in attack. He will be in tandem with Lebo Mothiba of Strasbourg, and could represent trouble for what does not look like a particularly strong Ivorian defence; Eric Bailly, sadly predictably, has missed this tournament through injury.

The match kicks off at 3.30pm UK time.


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