Date: February 4th, 2015
Venue: Estadio de Bata
City: Bata, Equatorial Guinea
Time: 21:00 (CAT)
Match Result: DR Congo 1 – 3 Ivory Coast
Goal Scorers: 0-1, Yaya Touré 20’; 1-1, Dieumerci Mbokani 22’; 1-2, Gervinho 42’; 1-3, Serge Wilfried Kanon 68’
The GSV Top Class Award
For a striker that takes a lot of flack for his lack of goals at international level, Wilfried Bony deserves to be cut a bit of slack considering the gel haired legend he has been tasked with replacing; Bony is no Didier Drogba, yet the man has added his own unique skill set to the manner in which Ivory Coast play their football. Wilfried Bony may have not added to his 13 international goals but the fact that he delivered two vital assists for his side and showed great endeavour for his side; aside from one great bit of skill during the group stages, the burly striker had barely shown why Manchester City were willing to meet Swansea City’s £30m evaluation to acquire his services. While Ivory Coast looked to sit back an absorb pressure in the early stages of the game, Bony provided a great outlet for his side and his hold-up play was marvellous to watch at times, Bony receives the GSV Top Class Award for delivering two quality assists and playing his heart out for his side as they booked their passage to the final of the 2015 African Cup of Nations.
The GSV Class Clown Award
Considering how they profited from a wasteful and defensively incompetent Congo side in the quarter-finals, one would have expected the DR Congo to come out with more defensive resolve against an offensively stronger and more potent attacking line; yet we watched DR Congo put on one of the most defensively repulsive displays he have seen at the 30th edition of Africa’s grandest showpiece. For their inability to show any defensive aptitude or composure, DR Congo are the winners of our GSV Class Clown Award and the lads ought to feel as if they have let their nation down with their inability to show some bottle when it mattered most.
The Grand Stand View
In one of the more highly anticipated encounters of the knock-out stages, the DR Congo versus Ivory Coast game was one that separated the wheat from the chaff; both sides seemed to show each other a great deal of respect from the offset, that was until the game was opened up by two quick goals in succession, one was an absolute thunderbolt from Yaya Touré and the other was a well taken penalty by Dieumerci Mbokani. The Elephants begun to gain a firm hold on the encounter as the pace was increased after both sides suffered the shock of conceding a goal and looked to ensure that they keep their shape well and construct meaningful attacking opportunities, Ivory Coast started using the more superior arsenal to bomb away at the opponents and the pressure finally told after DR Congo looked like they could hold out until the end of the half; Wilfried Bony was at the centre of all things that involved goals for The Elephants again as his perfectly weighted pass picked out Gervinho, who exploited a 3-on-2 mismatch by timing his run expertly and finishing with aplomb. DR Congo seemed to grow into the game after the half-time break as their talisman and African superstar Yannick Bolasie continually tormented the Ivory Coast defence and creating opportunities that only a lad like Mbokani can waste and still lead the line for his nation time after time. Ivory Coast eventually brought The Leopards to their knees when Serge Wilfried Kanon improvised well to get a knee onto the ball and steer it home and send the always vocal 12th man of Ivory Coast into raptures as the moved one step closer to their dream of winning their 1st Afcon crown since their maiden victory in ’92. DR Congo will feel as if they have let themselves down with their defensive application, or lack thereof, yet the bright side is that we will get to watch Yannick Bolasie one more time in the 3rd/4th place play-off before he jets off London and astounds all and sundry with his skill, creativity, turn of pace and CR7 engraved boots.