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World Cup 2014 : Drogba inspires Ivory Coast to emphatic 2-1 win over Japan

Reuters  Recife, Brazil, June 15, 2014
First Published: 05:05 IST(15/6/2014) | Last Updated: 11:42 IST(15/6/2014)

Two sharply-headed goals within three second-half minutes gave Ivory Coast a 2-1 Group C victory over Japan as the World Cup's four-game "Super Saturday" concluded with yet another hugely entertaining match.

Japan's forward Keisuke Honda (C) shoots and scores past Ivory Coast's goalkeeper Boubacar Barry during their World Cup match at the Pernambuco Arena in Recife. (AFP Photo)

Keisuke Honda's fierce left-foot drive after 16 minutes had Japan ahead, but the introduction of substitute Didier Drogba just after the hour seemed to lift the Africans and almost immediately they turned the game on its head.

Wilfried Bony headed the equaliser after 64 minutes and the Ivorians had only just concluded their dancing celebrations when Gervinho glanced in the second, both goals coming from pinpoint crosses by Serge Aurier.

Ivory Coast join Colombia on three points atop the open-looking group after Colombia's 3-0 victory over Greece earlier on Saturday, and the Ivorians will be growing in confidence that they can reach the knockout stages for the first time.

Ivory Coast's Gervinho (L) celebrates with teammate Didier Drogba after scoring a goal during their World Cup match against Japan at the Pernambuco arena in Recife. (Reuters Photo)

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