In the aftermath of their narrow Africa Cup of Nations 1-0 win over Equatorial Guinea, Ivory Coast head coach Patrice Beaumelle acknowledged his team struggled a little bit against a tough opponent.
Beaumelle’s side shot to the top of Group E after the victory over the Nzalang Nacional on Wednesday at the Japoma Stadium in Douala.
Max-Alain Gradel’s right footed shot from outside the box found the top right corner of the net to beat Equatorial Guinea goalkeeper Manuel Mbara Sapunga in spectacular fashion, and to steer the win. But, Beaumelle was far from convinced.
“Equatorial Guinea has made us suffer and I am not at all surprised even if our adversary remains ourselves,” Beaumelle said after the game.
He also expressed disappointment as his side failed to keep up with the impression they played with in the first moments of the match.
“If we learn to play simple, nothing bad can happen to us. I really liked the first 15 minutes with the fluidity, simplicity and collectiveness put forward.”
“We did not continue to play like this, it allowed our opponent to believe in it and to deploy his game.”
The tactician later paid tribute with the manner with which the “small” nations including Equatorial Guinea and Sierra Leone have fared at the Cameroon AFCON edition.
“It was difficult but we will hold back the victory and this group will be difficult until the end, Sierra Leone and Equatorial Guinea are not stooges, they deserve their qualification for this competition.”
Ivory Coast who now sit top of Group E will take on Sierra Leone on January 16 at the Japoma Stadium in their next game.
Meanwhile, Equatorial Guinea will tussle it out with defending champions Algeria on the same day at the Japoma.
How they lined up
Equatorial Guinea: Manuel Sapunga (GK), Carlos Akapo, Janick Buyla, Saul Coco, Pablo Garnet, Emilio Nsue, Basilio Ndong, Dorian Hanza, Jose Machin, Esteban Obiang, Iban Salvador.
Substitutions: Javier Akapo, Cosme Anvene, Pedro Oba Asu, Alex Balboa, Mariano Mba, Luis Meseguer, Luis Nvlavo, Luis Enrique Nsue, Oscar Siafa.
Ivory Coast: Badra Ali Sangare (GK), Eric Bailey, Max Gradel, Sabastian Haller, Maxwell Cornet, Jean Micheal Seri, Frank Kessie, Ibrahim Sangare, Ghislain Konan, Simon Deli, Habib Maiga.
Substitutions: Yohan Boli, Willy Boly, Abdoul Karim Cisse, Karim Konate, Odilon Kossounou, Cristian Kouame, Jean Kouassi, Nicholas Pepe, Wilfred Zaha, Hamed Traore.