World: Africa Cup of Nations
4 - 0
(1 - 0)
Equatorial Guinea
Côte d'Ivoire
Nsue (42), P. Ganet (73), Nsue (75), J. Buyla Sam (88)
By Peter Weis@PeterVicey

Historic Ivorian collapse pushes Kossounou and Haller to brink of AFCON elimination

Without having played a single minute in the competition, Borussia Dortmund's Sebastien Haller and Bayer 04 Leverkusen's Odilon Kossounou are both facing early elimination from the Africa Cup of Nations tournament their country is hosting.
Africa's 2015 continental champions are facing elimination from the tournament they are presently hosting. Cote d'Ivoire suffered the heaviest defeat of any hosting AFCON country in history on Tuesday evening at the Alassane Ouattara Stadium on Monday evening. Les Elephants collapsed late against the "National Thunder" of Equatorial Guinea. A 0-4 loss leaves Les Elephants in third place in their group on three points with a minus three goal differential.

Jean-Louis Gasset's Ivorians will have to wait and hope whilst the remaining five groups wrap up play over the next few days. As is the case in 24-team-tournaments with three knockout rounds, four third-place sides will qualify for the Round-of-16. Generally speaking, however, four points from three group stage fixtures are considered the benchmark for attaining the knockouts. The goal differential factor also does not work in favor of the hosts.

After getting this year's competition off to a cracking start with a 2-0 win over Guinea-Bissau, Cote d'Ivoire dropped their second group stage fixture 0-1 to 2013 continental champions Nigeria. Monday night's affair wasn't so lopsided as the scoreline suggests. Les Elephants entered the final 17 minutes of normal time trailing 0-1. There were plenty of chances to equalize and even an 1-1 chalked off for offside just before half-time.

Unfortunately, the wheels came off in the final quarter-of-an hour. The Equatorial Guineans scored off a set-piece in the 73rd, then netted the 3-0 off a counter 75th as soon as the match restarted. The Ivorians attempted to pick up the pieces, but only ended up conceding a fourth goal in the 88th after some desperate slapstick play. The Equatorial Guinean "Elephants" advance as group winners with Nigeria taking second place.

Neither one of the two Bundesliga players on the Ivorian roster logged a single minute of action for their country. Dortmund striker Sebastien Haller didn't even feature on any of Gasset's three match-day squads. Leverkusen defender Odilon Kossounou lost his starting place in central defense to Sporting CP center back Ousmane Diomande in the first two matches. Veteran Willy Boly was preferred to Kossounou in the third fixture.

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