Jonathan Kodjia’s 65th minute goal was all that Ivory Coast needed to collect maximum points against South Africa in the opening Group D match of the Africa Cup Nations played at the Al Salam Stadium in Cairo.
It was the two times African Champions coming up against the one time African Champions in the blazing heat of Cairo.
Elephants coach Ibrahim Kamara decided to start with breakthrough star Nicholas Pepe, Jonathan Kodjia, Max Gradel and Jean Seri with Wilfried Zaha and Wilfried Bony left out of the starting eleven
Stuart Baxter decided to go with Percy Tau, Mothiba, Themba Zwane and Maboe.
It was a very cagey opening 45 minutes with very few openings for either side. But Ivory Coast looked hungrier of the two teams
After the break it was the Ivorians who asked questions and eventually broke the the deadlock in the 65th minute.
Max Gradel used his pace on the wing and put in a deadly ball into box. Kodjia with a wonderful first touch placed it past Williams legs.
Jean Seri gave way for Wilfried Zaha with the Ivorians looking to close out the game. The South African team had very little joy on goal in the second period.
Eventually, Ivory Coast went joint top of Group D alongside Morocco.