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Drogba seals the deal as Ivorians qualify first for the last eight

Ivory Coast became the first team to reach the African Nations Cup quarter-finals after beating Ghana 3-1 with 10 men in Group B.

A Didier Drogba header in the last minute finished off the Black Stars after Gervinho put the Ivorians ahead in the first half and Siaka Tiene added another midway through the second.

The win put Ivory Coast, held 0-0 by Burkina Faso in their opening game, top of the group with four points from two matches. Burkina Faso are second with one point and Ghana, playing their first game in the three-team group, are third.

Ivory Coast defender Emmanuel Eboue was sent off in the 56th minute but Ghana failed to take advantage although they got a consolation goal with a stoppage-time penalty by substitute Asamoah Gyan. Ghana must now beat Burkina Faso in Luanda on Tuesday to progress.

The group is a three-team affair after Togo withdrew from the competition following last week's deadly gun attack on their bus.

After throwing away a hatful of chances against Burkina Faso, Vahid Halilhodzic's side proved far more efficient against Ghana at Cabinda's Chiazi National Stadium.

Chelsea midfielder Michael Essien, who only joined the Ghana team on Wednesday after bad weather delayed his departure from London, was left on the bench but came on at halftime.

In the 23rd minute Yaya Toure found Salomon Kalou with a defence-splitting pass and the Chelsea man fed Gervinho for him to tap in.

Ghana's hopes were boosted when Eboue was shown a straight red card for a nasty tackle.

Tiene, though, made it 2-0 in the 67th minute with a stunning free kick that went straight into the top left corner and Drogba put the result beyond doubt in the last minute when he headed home.

Gyan converted a consolation penalty for Ghana in stoppage time.


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