CAN ’10: Quarterfinals! Ivory Coast-Algeria
Welp, having wiped away the tears shed at the departure of the Palancas Negras from CAN ’10, it’s time to pull ourselves together in order to “cover” today’s other match: COTE D’IVORE v. ALGERIE. Les Fennecs are certainly being viewed as rank underdogs: they were lifeless in their last match against Angola (admittedly a game lifeless-by-design in the 2nd half) and they scored just one goal in the group stages (from a set piece). If the western media’s team news is to be believed, some key players will miss out through injury: Rafik Saif, the man who they desperately lean on for goals; the requisite re-nationalized Frenchman & mazy dribbler Mourad Meghni; and comedian-goalkeeper-bobblemaster Fawzi Chaouchi.
What about Les Elephants? Like Ghana, the fact that they only played 2 group stage matches makes them a bit more difficult to suss out. They reached an impressive level of team rapport when they beat Ghana 3-1, but have had more than a week’s rest since that match. They looked solid in that victory (against more talented opposition than they face today), with the midfield cohering around Yaya Toure’s leadership. Perhaps more ominously for the Algerians, the attacking trident of Kalou/Gervinho/Drogba were beginning to look dangerous indeeeeed. I am not really one for predictions, but I’m gonna put my as-yet-unconfirmed dignity on the line and say 3-0 Ivory Coast?
Sooo, here are the teams—Megni & Chaouchi are both indeed playing in goal for Algeria. Dunno if it’s mindgames or crap wire services, but the pregame news and team sheets have been wildly inaccurate so far this tourney! Ivory Coast’s only change from their win over Ghana is Hamburg rightback Guy Demel coming in for the suspended Emmanuel Eboue.
Ivory Coast: Barry, Tiene, Kolo Toure, Bamba, Demel, Zokora, Yaya Toure, Tiote, Kalou, Gervinho, Drogba.
Algeria: Chaouchi, Bougherra, Halliche, Yahia, Belhadj, Matmour, Yebda, Mansouri, Ziani, Meghni, Ghezzal.
OK, I’m gonna feast my eyes upon the sporting spectacle…watch this space!
2 Min: We have our first firm Algerian kick to Didier Drogba’s ankle!
4 Min: 1-0 Ivory Coast! Yaya Koure attempts a sexxxy backheel on the edge of the box…it’s blocked, BUT he ball ricochets fortuitously to Salomon Kalou, who slots the ball home!
22 Min: Algeria haven’t done much, but Ivorian keeper Boubacar Barry is starting to show his eccentric side. He’s looked composed so far this tournament but in the last 5 minutes he’s almost handled outside the area while sliding to smother a ball, and more dangerously just got closed down by a defender when trying to hack a backpass clear…luckily the ball rebounded behind for a goal kick.
28 Min: Algeria had a good 10 minutes there, improving there passing communication (“finding their feet” as my English commentator puts it). They’re chipping lofted balls into the box from 25 yards or so out, trying to test the Ivorian centerbacks. However, Ivory Coast move quickly on the break and immediately Algeria look creeeeeaky defensively.
32 Min: Boubacar Barry-watch™!!! The keeper comes off his line and makes an excellent diving interception of a threatening Algerian cross.
40 Min: Algeria 1-1 Ivory Coast!!! A long ball into the boxes bounces to attacking midfielder Karim Matmour, he controls from left to right, shimmies excellently and dispatches the ball into the back of the net! Seriously skillful first couple of touches and a really powerful shot…GAME PROVERBIALLY ONNN
45 Min: OMG seriously how FUCKING SEXY IS DIDIER DROGBA?! oh, sorry.
‘TIS 1-1 @ HALFTIME and MJ is bumping on the PA in Cabinda!!! To uncreatively lean on a cliche, it’s been a half of two halves. Algeria worked out some kinks and certainly looked dangerous on the counterattack. Gotta say though they are basically shitting themselves any time Gervinho is running at them on the wing or Drogba through the middle. 45 more minutes to play here!
MJ UPDATE! It wasn’t just blaring over the soundsystem, there was a phalanx of MJ IMPERSONATORS on the pitch! Sadly my PPV feed wasn’t giving them the camera time they richly deserved…the choreography seemed tight.
PATERNALISTIC JOURNALISM UPDATE!: If I am not up-to-minute enough for you and you’d like more whining about: a) what this whole CAN ’10 things means for English soccer b) veiled allusions to Lazy Africans c) criticisms of the pitch quality (why don’t they just rip it up and re-lay it at great expense like they did for the New Wembley pitch how many fucking times?!) d) blah blah blah, THEN BY ALL MEANS TUNE INTO THE BBC COVERAGE!
58 Min: Kalou jinks through two Algeria defenders and puts a shot about half a foot wide of goal…
60 Min: Algeria keeper Chaouchi is looking good in a snug American Apparel-manufactured GK’s onesy, with some classic white Pony hightops…
64 Min: The fans behind the Algerian goal get a welcome WHOOOOSH of air, as Didier Drogba whiffs an open chance at the far corner after Kalou floated in a nice cross…missed opportunity. He is still sexy as fuck though.
68 Min: Dang! CB Souleymane Bamba dithers over a backpass and is robbed by Matmour, who is then DENIED when 1-on-1 with the rapidly redeemed Boubacar Barry, making an excellent save to his left.
75 Min: Algeria’s meaty frontman are winning the physical battles with the Ivorians centerbacks. Ghezzal just had a chance about 4 yards out the he fired directly at Kolo Toure. Algeria clearly in ascendancy right now…
84 Min: Kader Keita comes on for Kalou, puts Gervinho through on goal with his first touch of the ball. Gervinho gleefully spurns the chance, putting over goal with a left footed shot. That shoulda been 2-1.
89 Min IVORY COAST 2-1 ALGERIA!!! During an Ivorian attacking move, the ball rolls to supersub Kader Keita who buries the ball into the upper lefthand corner of the net with his left foot…putting it WHERE THE OWL SLEEPS.
90+2 Min IVORY COAST 2-2 ALGERIA!!! MADNUSSSS here in Cabinda. Bamba definitely at fault as a cross from the left finds Madjid Bougherra totally unmarked at the far post…and he dutifully heads in to equalize!!! Extra time beckons…
ET 2: ALGERIA SCORE A 3rd! It’s substitute Hameur Bouazza, who heads in unmarked. Ivorian leftback Tiene thoughtfully regards a surging Karim Ziana, doesn’t think to close him down and he puts in a lovely cross…luckily for Bouazza his “marker” was Souleymane Bamba!
ET 5: I need a Gatorade or something. Zokora comes off, as Cote D’Ivoire add another attacker in Arouna Dindane.
ET 8: An unmarked Didier Drogba unleashes a forceful shot just inside the box, but Chaouchi is up for it…nice save.
ET 10++++: Chaouchi has seemingly injured himself while flailing about on the ground…but wait he’s OK! Good thing the clock was running during that whole episode.
ET 14: Just as I was about to call out “old-fashioned style center forward” Ghezzal for playacting, he’s up and dabbing away the blood oozing out of his head.
EXTRA TIME HALFTIME: Still needing a Gatorade here. Can’t really see Ivory Coast overturning this now, they looked mentally crushed…then again I said they would win 3-1!
ET 16: Uhhhh, insane pinball in the Ivory Coast box. A bit too much for me to cover…it should be like 5-2 right now. A cross found Ghezzal breaking away from his “marker” at the far post, put he elected to careen the ball of his inner thigh rather than finish for a goal.
ET 19: Ivory Coast are falling apart here, with Bamba in particular a fucking joke in defense. Sooo, this match has certainly made the Ivory Coast/Brazil/Portugal/N. Korea •Group of Deathhh• look markedly less deadly.
ET 22: Chaouchi in rolling-around-on-ground SHOCKER! It looks a bit seriously though…my insight-free commentator opines “I hope he hasn’t swallowed his tongue…”
ET 28: Looks like the Algerian dogs squad are going to go through…which could set up a tasty MATCH OF HATE against Egypt if they can conquer Cameroon. There are going to be 4 minutes of extra time, about ¼ of what Chaouchi wasted rolling around on the ground with sundry ailments.
ET 30+: Ivory Coast have a Kolo Toure equalizer DISALLOWED…incorrectly. BLIMEY!
FULLTIME! ALGERIA 3-2 IVORY COAST!!! A truly •••BONKERS••• match sends favorites Ivory Coast home packing. They were robbed of a totally legit equalizing goal at the death there, but it’s hard to pity them as they pissed away their chance to win this game. They were shocking in defense in the last 5 minutes of regulation, and ridiculously awful in extra time. Cheers to Algeria, who certainly looked like the more cohesive team.
Thanks for following along, if anyone actually did that! BEIJINHOS!