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Sierra Leone Battle Back To Hold Ivory Coast

Ivory Coast were held to a 2-2 draw by Sierra Leone in their second 2021 Africa Cup of Nations Group E match at the Japoma Stadium on Sunday.

Sébastien Haller scored after 23 minutes and Nicolas Pepe struck on the 66 minutes after Franck Kessie had a penalty saved.

Sierra Leone scored their first goal in the 55th minutes courtesy of Musa Noah Camara who finished first-time into the back of the net before Alhaji Kamara scored a later equalizer.

Ivory Coast had a very good opportunity to take the lead with five minutes gone as Jean Michaël Seri played a ball down the side and Nicolas Pépé was left alone on the left-hand side of the box but he dragged his shot badly wide.

Sierra Leone started to ask questions following a quiet opening quarter and saw a diving header at the far side from Kwame Quee going over the top.

Ivory Coast benefited from a penalty on the 12th minute after Umaru Bangura brought down Zaha inside the area bur Kessie’s effort was saved by goalkeeper Mohamed Kamara.

The game went through a lull thereafter with both sides showing little attacking intent. The Elephants had another chance on the 18th minute when Ibrahim Sangare laid it back for Jean Michel Seri but his left footed effort curled wide of the post.

Soon after Ivory Coast opened the scoring when Wilfried Zaha surged into the box down the right-hand side after being played in between the lines and he cut the ball back for Sébastien Haller, who sent a right footed shot into the back of the net.

Sierra Leone launched the last big chance of the first half minutes to the break, but Mohamed Turay couldn’t pounce as he misdirected the smart delivery.

Leone Stars enjoyed brighter start to the second half and nearly found an equalizer 49th minute but Osman Kakay curling free-kick sailed just wide of the mark.

Musa Noah Cmara leveled the matters for Sierra Leone after collection a pass from Buya Turay  before sensing powerful shot past a diving Ali Badra.

However, Ivory Coast restored their lead ten minutes later when Nocoals Pepe powered home a shot into the far corner, after some poor marking by the Leone Stars defence.

Camara came to Sierra Leone’s rescue in the 77th minute, as the shot-stopper came off his line to deny Wilfried Zaha one-on-one situation.

Camara proved to be the busier of the two goalkeepers in the second half and he was at his best in the 83rd minute when he pulled off a fine reaction save to keep out ‘s Nicolas Pépé header.

Sierra Leone saw most of the ball in the final stages of the game, but Ivory Coast nearly extended their advantage in the 81st minute although Camara was on hand to thwart Pepe yet again.

But the Leone Stars did find the equalizing goal they had been looking for in the extra time as Alhaji Camara scored with a harmless shot to make it 2-2.

How they lined up:

Cote d’Ivoire: Ali Badra – Serge Aurier, Eric Bailly, Simon Deli, Ghislain Konan – Franck Kessie (Geoffrey Serie Die 82), Ibrahim Sangare (Hamed Traore 72), Jean Michel Seri – Wilfred Zaha (Jean E. Kouassi 82), Nicolas Pepe, Sebastien Haller (Christian Kouame 72)

Sierra Leone: Mohamed Kamara – Osman Kakay, Kevin Wright, Steven Caulker, Umaru Bangura – John Kamara, Kwame Quee, Kei Kamara (Sulai Kaikai 83)- Musa Kamara, Mustapha Bundu (Alhaji Kamara 77), Mohamed Turay (Issa Kallon 73)


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