AFCON 2019: Cote D’Ivoire beats Zambia 4-1 in friendly

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Ivory Coast's head coach Ibrahim Kamara looks on during a press conference held on May 29, 2019 in Abidjan to announce the list of players selected for the preparation phase of the 2019 African Cup of Nations (CAN) starting on May 31 in Chantilly. (Photo by SIA KAMBOU / AFP) (Photo credit should read SIA KAMBOU/AFP/Getty Images)
FILE PHOTO: Cote D’Ivoire’s head coach Ibrahim Kamara looks on during a press conference held on May 29, 2019 in Abidjan to announce the list of players selected for the preparation phase of the 2019 African Cup of Nations (CAN) starting on May 31 in Chantilly. (Photo credit SIA KAMBOU/AFP/Getty Images)

Cote D’Ivoire claimed a 4-1 win against Zambia in a friendly on Wednesday at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, as the team finalises preparations for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations which kicks off on Friday.

The match was a repeat of the 2012 AFCON final in Libreville, Gabon, in which Zambia beat Cote D’Ivoire 8-7 on penalties after the game ended 0-0 after extra time.

The result gives the 2015 AFCON champions a much-needed boost following a disappointing 1-0 loss to Uganda at the same venue last Saturday.

Zambia, winners of the AFCON in 2012, hoped to build on their impressive 3-2 win against Morocco

Cote D’Ivoire got off to a bad start conceding a penalty 12 minutes into the match when Wonlo Coulibaly brought down Patson Daka in the penalty box. Fashion Sakala stepped up and converted the spot-kick to give Zambia the lead.

Cote D’Ivoire leveled the game 17 minutes later after Jonathan Kodjia’s fine finish from Nicolas Pepe’s through ball. The Ivorians then took the lead four minutes before halftime when Jean Michael Seri poked home Serge Aurier’s cross.

Maxwell Cornet increased the Ivorians lead with a left-foot strike on 57 minutes and Wilfried Bony pounced on a loose ball to round off the scoring in the 83rd minute.

Cote D’Ivoire gets its 2019 AFCON campaign underway against South Africa in Group D on Monday, June 24 at the Al-Salam Stadium in Cairo.

Zambia failed to qualify for this year’s event.

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