Mon | Oct 23, 2017

Without Drogba, Bony scores the goals

Published:Monday | February 2, 2015 | 12:00 AM
Ivory Coast's Wilfried Bony, Left, is tackled by Algeria's Madjid Bouguerra, Right, during their African Cup of Nations quarter final soccer match at the Estadio De Malabo, Equatorial Guinea, Sunday, Feb. 1, 2015. (AP Photo/Sunday Alamba)

MALABO, Equatorial Guinea (AP):

Didier Drogba is gone, and he might soon be forgotten when it comes to Ivory Coast's national football team.

Wilfried Bony, the newest exceptional striker from the country that also produced Yaya TourĂˆ, scored a pair of goals yesterday to put his team into the semi-finals of the African Cup of Nations.

The Ivorians beat Algeria 3-1 at Malabo Stadium and it was Bony who twice gave his team the lead with headers.

"I think the Ivory Coast team is very lucky," Ivory Coast coach Herve Renard said. "He was the best scorer in England in 2014. I think when you just said that, you can explain everything."

The soon-to-be Manchester City forward first headed in a cross from Max Gradel in the 26th minute after being left completely alone at the far post. Bony scored another in the 68th by nodding in a free kick taken by Yaya TourĂˆ, his new club teammate at City.

congo next opponent

The Ivorians, who won their only African Cup title in 1992, will next face Congo on Wednesday in Bata. Four-time champion Ghana, which beat Guinea 3-0 in the other quarter-final match, will play tournament hosts Equatorial Guinea in the semi-finals on Thursday in Malabo.

With Drogba in the team, the Ivorians twice reached the African Cup final, but both times lost on penalties. The last time was in 2012, when Renard led Zambia to a surprising victory.

"If Didier Drogba is not there, it's not because of us," Renard said. "It's because he decided to stop his international career."

The Ivory Coast's other goal came from Gervinho, the Roma forward who returned from a two-match suspension after getting a straight red card in the opening match.

Hilal Soudani scored Algeria's goal in the 51st, beating goalkeeper Sylvain Gbohouo after taking a pass from Riyad Mahrez that trickled through a weak Ivory Coast defence.

fifth semis

In the earlier match, Christian Atsu scored two goals and Kwesi Appiah added the other to put Ghana into the African Cup semi-finals for the fifth straight time.

Atsu, who plays in England for Everton, gave the Black Stars the lead in the fourth minute by scoring after a backheel pass from Andre Ayew. He added another in the 61st, whipping in a shot from the right side.

Appiah scored the second goal of the match in the 44th, controlling a horrible defensive mistake from Baissama Sankoh and beating Guinea goalkeeper Naby Yattara.

"For us, I think we had a winning mentality," Atsu said. "We went for a win and we worked hard for it. That's why we won the game. Not because they are a bad team. We went for a win. That's all."

Guinea finished the match with 10 men after Yattara was given a red card in injury time for a foul on Asamoah Gyan. Abdoulaye Cisse then played in goal for the final seconds.