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Zaha goal takes Ivory Coast through to quarter-finals of African Cup of Nations

The Crystal Palace star, who is being linked with a move to Arsenal, scored a decisive goal on Monday.

Zaha competes for possession with Mali''s Hamari Traore.
Zaha competes for possession with Mali''s Hamari Traore.
Image: DPA/PA Images

IVORY COAST REACHED the quarter-finals of the Africa Cup of Nations on Monday as Wilfried Zaha gave them a 1-0 win over Mali.

The Crystal Palace winger, a reported transfer target for Arsenal, struck with 14 minutes of regulation time remaining after his side had survived some heavy pressure during the first half.

Two-time champions Ivory Coast will meet Algeria in the last eight after they dispatched Guinea 3-0 in Cairo on Sunday.

Hamari Traore blasted over after being backheeled into a good position by Moussa Marega, as Mali started the stronger of the teams.

Abdoulaye Diaby’s free-kick looped goalwards and had to be tipped over by Sylvain Gbohouo, while Marega twice came close before the break as Ivory Coast struggled to get a foothold.

They improved after the break, though, and should have taken the lead 67 minutes in when Jonathan Kodjia could only find the side-netting after goalkeeper Djigui Diarra had slipped.

Zaha made no such mistake nine minutes later, though, guiding a finish past Diarra after Kodjia glanced on a long kick up the field and Mali’s defence were left in disarray.

Mali, who have now failed to win any of their five meetings with Ivory Coast, pushed for a late leveller but Gbohouo made a fine stoppage-time save to keep out a fierce strike from Kalifa Coulibaly.

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