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AFCON: Zaha Fires Ivory Coast into Quarter-finals

Zaha Fires Ivory Coast into Quarter-finalsIvory Coast reached the quarter-finals of the Africa Cup of Nations on Monday as Wilfried Zaha gave them a 1-0 win over Mali.

The Crystal Palace winger, a reported transfer target for Arsenal, struck with 14 minutes of regulation time remaining after his side had survived some heavy pressure during the first half.

Two-time champions Ivory Coast will meet Algeria in the last eight after they dispatched Guinea 3-0 in Cairo on Sunday.

Hamari Traore blasted over after being backheeled into a good position by Moussa Marega, as Mali started the stronger of the teams.

Ivory Coast improved after the break, though, and should have taken the lead 67 minutes in when Jonathan Kodjia could only find the side-netting after goalkeeper Djigui Diarra had slipped.

Zaha made no such mistake nine minutes later, though, guiding a finish past Diarra after Kodjia glanced on a long kick up the field and Mali’s defence were left in disarray.

Mali, who have now failed to win any of their five meetings with Ivory Coast, pushed for a late leveller but Gbohouo made a fine stoppage-time save to keep out a fierce strike from Kalifa Coulibaly.

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Written by Junaid Bashir

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