|Held to a draw at home by Morocco, lost to Tanzania and Ivory Coast away, The Gambia placed its hopes on some "mathematical nonsense" going into Saturday's match. It did not work. (Photo Credit: M.S.Joof/TNBES/June 2013)|
The scorpions were eager to win their last three matches and hope group rivals Ivory Coast and Tanzania or Morocco falter along the way – to give it at least a chance for a play-off to the 2nd round.
But such hopes began to ruin when Lacina Traoré scored for the elephants 13 minutes into the first half with a low shot inside The Gambia’s penalty area.
With Gambia’s Mustapha Jarju, Momodou Ceesay, Demba Savage, Sanna Nyassi and Abdoulie Mansally all squandering clear cut chances in both halves of the game – a defeat was imminent.
Perhaps, Mustapha Jarju was the guiltiest of all when he breaks into a one-on-one situation with Ivory Coast goalkeeper Bubacarr Barry - but only managed to hit the post.
With the scorpions failing to take four clear chances in front goal, Ivory Coast went into the break with a 1-0 lead.
After the break, Wilfred Bony added a second for the elephants in the 61st minute to the dismay of over 20,000 Gambian fans.
The striker simply taps in a near post cross from Manchester City midfielder Yaya Toure.
Gambia’s Demba Savage 72 minute header into the Ivory Coast net was ruled out for a foul on goalkeeper Bubacarr Barry after a collision with the midfielder.
Playing on a dry pitch all evening, Yaya Toure’s 90 minute free-kick from the edge of the penalty area gave the visitors an emphatic 3-0 win over the home side.
In March this year, Ivory Coast beat The Gambia with the same score line in Abidjan.
In a late group C kick-off, Morocco secured first win in the 2014 World Cup qualifiers in a 2-1 score line against the Taifa Stars of Tanzania on Saturday night at the Grand Stadium in Marrakech.
Ivory Coast currently top the group with 10 points, Tanzania remains second with 6 points, Morocco at third with 5 points, and The Gambia placed bottom with only 1 point.
Each team has two more games to play with the penultimate fixtures scheduled for next weekend on June 16.
Morocco will host The Gambia in Marrakech while Tanzania takes on Ivory Coast in Dar es Salaam.
The winners of the group qualify to the 2nd stage of the World Cup qualifiers. The FIFA 2014 World Cup will be hosted by Brazil next summer.
Written by Modou S. Joof