Kodjia on target as Ivory Coast edge out South Africa
Aston Villa forward Jonathan Kodjia scored the only goal of the game to give Ivory Coast a hard-fought 1-0 victory over South Africa in their Africa Cup of Nations tie in Cairo.
Kodjia made up for missing a gilt-edged chance in the first half with a 65th-minute winner in the Group D contest after being set up by former Leeds player Max Gradel.
Captain Thulani Hlatshwayo had South Africa’s best chance of the first half but headed wide from close range in the 25th minute when Percy Tau clipped the ball to the near post after Ivory Coast failed to clear a corner.
Ivory Coast came close to breaking the deadlock twice in the space of a minute, with Nicolas Pepe crashing a free-kick off the crossbar before Kodjia was clean through on goal after pouncing on a poor defensive header from Hlatshwayo, only to smash his shot straight at goalkeeper Ronwen Williams.
Kodjia made no mistake with his next chance in the second half, stabbing home Gradel’s first-time cross after being left in acres of space by the South African defence.
South Africa rarely threatened to find an equaliser but felt they should have had a late penalty when substitute Lars Veldwijk went down in the area under a challenge from Thamsanqa Mkhize.