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2015 Africa Nations Cup, Quarter-finals
  • Wilfried Bony (26', 68')
  • Gervinho (90'+4')
  • Hillal Soudani (51')

Wilfried Bony brace lifts Ivory Coast into semis of African Nations Cup

Wilfried Bony was the star turn as the Ivory Coast beat tournament favourites Algeria 3-1 to reach the last four of the African Nations Cup.

Showing the sort of form which persuaded English champions Manchester City to pay Swansea £25million in the January transfer window, Bony produced two excellent headers - one in each half - to hand the Ivory Coast a semi-final date with DR Congo.

Bony struck from close range to give the Elephants a 26th-minute lead and, after Hilal Soudani had equalised soon after the re-start, the muscular frontman rose majestically to meet Yaya Toure's free-kick after 68 minutes.

And Gervinho, restored after a two-match ban for his red card against Guinea, punished Algeria's all-out attack in the closing stages with a third Ivory Coast goal deep into stoppage time.

That was tough on Algeria who had contributed so much to an entertaining contest in Malabo and almost levelled in the final 10 minutes through Islam Slimani and Faouzi Ghoulam, the latter's free-kick forcing a sprawling save from Sylvain Gbohouo.

Algeria started on the front foot and Yacine Brahimi tricked his way into the box to prompt panic in the Ivory Coast penalty area, Gbohouo failing to gather at the first attempt but holding Soudani's shot at the second.

Ivory Coast could hardly get out of their own half until Max Gradel fired wide after 18 minutes following the first attack and the Elephants were grateful for Riyad Mahrez failing to keep his close-range volley down.

But the Elephants suddenly burst into life with Serge Aurier's glancing header striking the base of a post before Bony opened his African Nations Cup account three minutes later.

Eric Bailly's strong run allowed Gradel to cross into a dangerous area and Bony peeled off at the far post to plant a firm downward header past Rais M'Bolhi from eight yards.

Bony was exuding confidence now and he sent a 25-yard drive skidding wide and the Ivory Coast were comfortable at the back until Saphir Taider's drilled effort right on half-time flew straight at Gbohouo.

Gervinho tested M'Bolhi at the start of the second period but Algeria were level almost immediately when Soudani headed onto Mahrez and the striker was in the right place to apply the decisive touch after Bailly had failed to cut out the Leicester wideman's cross.

Gbohouo kept the scores level with a brave close-range stop from Soudani and his courage was rewarded when Bony's bullet header restored the Ivory Coast's lead and Gervinho added the gloss in the fourth minute of injury time.