Ivory Coast 0-0 Burkina Faso

Favourites of the on-going African Cup Nations Ivory Coast were held to a pulsating 0-0 score line in the opening Group B match played in Cabinda, Angola.

The Ivorians lacked the cutting edge up-front but were denied glaring penalty opportunities which were not given.

Marseille mid-fielder Bakari Kone did not help matters either after messing up glorious opportunities for the Ivorians.

The Burkinabes will be happy with the results having been beaten back-to-back by the same side in the just ended qualifiers, but come to think of it, they were deserving of the point.

They defended well but were impotent up-front leaving the bulky Dagano to struggle with the Ivorian Defence marshaled by kinpin and Manchester City defender Kolou Toure.

Minutes into the game, Didier Drogba excellently controlled a long ball with the side of his boots and put himself in favorable position to shoot, but Koulebaly came in with a strong but neat challenge which sent Drogba down and clamouring for a penalty kick to be awarded.

Emmanuel Eboue in the 29th minute made a rampaging ran into the 18 yard box, beat his marker but was cot in the process. Referee waved play-on, much to the surprise of the Ivorian.

Dagano made a rare attack for the Burkinabe but in a goal mouth scramble the Ivorian defence cleared for a corner.

In the 43rd minute Diakite made a spectacular save when he parried a lovely little tap from Bakari Kone at close range. Drogba had set Kone up with his defence splitting pass which caught the Burkinabes pants down.

From recess the Ivorians looked more exciting with some fluent passing game but were largely frustrated by a determined Burkinabe side who sat back and attempted to catch the Ivorians on the break.

Early in the second half, Bakari Kone had by far the greatest opportunity to put his side ahead but from six yards the Marseille star had is touch harmlessly roll out for a goal kick. He would curse his luck for not putting that chance away.

Tried as they did the match ended goalless making it difficult for either of the two to make it to the quarter finals stage of the competition.

With Togo out of the tournament, each side must win against Ghana to secure a place in the quarter finals, a task which will be difficult, though not unsurmountable. 

Ivory Coast play Ghana on Friday whilst Burkinabe will rest for their final group game against Ghana.

Story by Nathan Gadugah/Myjoyonline.com/Ghana