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Ivory Coast overcomes Mozambique test to set up massive showdown against Cameroon

A draw or a win on the final day against Cameroon will seal Ivory Coast’s ticket to the final round of FIFA World Cup qualifying after the Elephants secured a 3-0 victory over Mozambique on Saturday in Cotonou, Benin. The Ivorians move back into first place in Group D by a one-point margin over the Indomitable Lions courtesy of goals from Max Gradel, Maxwel Cornet and Jean-Michaël Seri, but will need to be at their best when they travel to Douala for the monumental clash.

The Mambas of Mozambique came out with energy and were unafraid to attack with nothing to lose, but critical turnovers in the defensive third doomed them to defeat. In the 3rd minute, an early indicator was shown when a turnover by the visitors led to Sebastien Haller collecting the ball for Ivory Coast outside of the penalty area and setting up Hamed Traoré for an open look on goal that was well saved by keeper Ernan Siluane.

Ivory Coast’s attack was not so forgiving in the 10th minute. A poor back pass by Mozambique had Siluane scrambling to clear the ball and led to a sequence that resulted in Cornet receiving the ball on the left wing. The Aston Villa wide player sent in a precise low cross that was swept into the net by Gradel for the opening goal.

For a decent spell after the opener, Mozambique played themselves into contention and had a couple of looks to level the match. Al Ahly winger Luis Miquissone’s 34th minute pass rolled into the Ivorian penalty area for Gildo Vilanculos to latch onto and unleash a blast on goal that forced a save from veteran keeper Sylvain Gbohouo. Just after the halftime break, Gbohouo was called into action again when a cross from Fidel de Sousa came off Miquissone’s back and on goal, but Gbohouo secured the ball without conceding a rebound.

Eventually the attacking talent for Ivory Coast found the second goal and put the result beyond doubt in the second half. In the 61st minute, Gradel found space on the right wing and sent in a cross that found Cornet, who delivered a well struck volley to beat Siluane. Late on in the 90th minute, it was Fulham FC defensive midfielder Seri who wrapped up the scoring after a quick throw-in resulted in Yohan Boli crossing low for Seri to get a rare goal.

Highlights of the match are in the link below.

Highlights from FIFA TV

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