Last Updated: 04/02/12 8:56pm
Substitute Wilfried Bony misses a sitter from close range, but it won't prove costly for the Ivorians who end the fairytale run of Equatorial Guinea and march on to the semi-finals to take another step in their road to AFCON glory. Thanks for joining us and don't forget to follow our coverage of tomorrow's quarter-final clashes between Gabon and Mali, and Ghana versus Tunisia!
The linesman holds the board up signaling four minutes of additional time, but it will take a miraculous blitz performance from National Lightning to rescue the game from the might clutches of Drogba and his rampaging Elephants.
Gradel and Coulibaly's effective contributions for the night comes to an end as Salomon Kalou and Emmanuel Eboue takes to the field for the final minutes to bask in the success of what will be an impressive victory.
GOAL! IVORY COAST! Y TOURE! The Manchester City linchpin just caresses the ball around the wall and past Danilo from the free-kick to put the game beyond doubt for the Ivorians.
Even at this late stage of the game, Drogba's still full of running and ghosts past several would-be tacklers down the left but his final pass to Gervinho is intercepted. The latter is, however, brought down moment later by Edjogo Juvenal for the first booking of the match.
Paulo throws on Ivan Bolado for Narcisse Ekanga, but it's more and more likely like the Ivorians have gained the upperhand in this encounter now, Yay Toure absolutely immense in an attacking as well as defensive role, slipping pass upfield for Gervinho and Drogba with ease.
GOAL! IVORY COAST! DROGBA! The Ivorian skipper dominates in the box to get his head to a Yaya Toure free-kick from the right, the lethal forward getting his second of the match which very well could prove the death-nail for the National Lightning.
Gradel with some lovely footwork out on the left to get past his marker and then keep the ball on the line for the cutback into the box, but his good ball in fails to find a team-mate. Gervinho follows it up with a strong run in between defenders into the 18-yard area, only for his last to take the ball too far before he could get a shot off. Moments earlier and Barry was again called into action at his far having to flap at a hanging Equatorial Guinea cross for Lawrence Doe.
Gervinho with a headed effort on target from a well-weighted cross from Yaya Toure on the right, but even if the ball had to beat Danilo instead of going straight at him it would've been disallowed for offside. The Elephants having a little trouble killing this game off and maybe need to wake up and push harder up field.
The Equatoguineans' attempt to get the ball forward now is relying on long balls out wide to Randy on the left, but the they'd be maybe best served keeping the ball on the ground and building their up and around. T Gervinho, meanwhile, is struggling to get into the game, making good initial breaks down the right but the never getting cut off before he can really get going.
As Nzalang Nacional go on the attack with more urgency, the Elephants seem happy to sit and try and catch their opponents on the counter with Yaya Toure surging upfield and threading passes behind the defence, as does Jean-Jacques Gosso.
Equatorial Guinea get the second stanza underway and Gilson Paulo makes his first substitution with Thierry Tazemeta coming on for Daniel Ekedo.
As the first 45 minutes draws to a close, Ben Konate lets rips from outside the box to draw a fine diving save from Barry to his right. The Ivorians have done all that was expected of them at this stage of the game and deserve their 1-0 advantage. But if the tournament co-hosts can cut out the sloppy errors in the middle of the park and get the attacking game under control, they could still spring a surprise on the competition favourites.
A searching pass from the right towards the Ivorians' far post by Equatorial Guinea for David Alvarez has Boubacar Barry almost making a hash of his first real save attempt of the match, missing the ball in flight but then regathering on the ground.
GOAL! IVORY COAST! DROGBA! And the world-class striker makes no mistake at the second time of asking with an impressive finish after the powerful latches on to long pass forward and then beating two defenders to hammer home past Danilo.
The Ivorians with some impressive quick passing and interplay between Toure, Gervinho and Gradel takes the them up the park on the right, Grevinho trying to weave his way in between the cover defence. But he is cut down ten or so metres out from the box and Equatorial Guinea regain possession and launch an attack of their own, to no avail.
and a relatively poor penalty attempt by the experienced Chelsea hitman, but credit must go to the 29-year-old Equatoguinean shot-stopper who went the right way to his right and made the save. The fans in the stands go into raptures for Danilo's effort and this could give the minnows hope of a possible upset.
On the rapid counter-attack, Gradel slips in a through ball for Zakora in the box, whose brought down late in the area for Drogba to step up to the spot...
How did Cote d'Ivoire not score?!? Gervinho twists and turns his way into an one-on-one situation with Danilo, but the Arsenal man fails to connect with the ball for his shot. Gradel takes a chance on the loose ball but his shot is blocked by a defender, as his Yaya Toure's, before Gradel shoots again on the half-volley only for his shot to sail high over the crossbar.
Drogba tries to create something for team-mate Kafoumba Coulibaly out on the right through a back-heeled one-two, the Elephants skipper's ball just to long for the attacking midfielder and his brought down cleanly inside the area. The National Lightning are starting to come into their own a little bit now and are pushing down the flanks with a bit more purpose, the final ball to the man up front just lacking the needed finesse.
Maybe the occasion is getting to them a touch and they need more time to settle, but Nzalang Nacional do not look at all comfortable going forward with several passes and crosses going astray. That being said, Iban Randy almost produces an opportunity at the left post in the Elephants box when the Equatoguinean forward bobbled a decent cross out of touch.
Max Gradel tries his luck from long range with low right-footed drive, his effort skidding past a diving Danilo at the left post but always looked to be just wide. Minutes later and the Ivorians are at it again, this time Didier Zokora trying to swing in a cross from the right to a waiting Gervinho in the box, but the cross is blocked.
Didier Drogba with what initially looks to be a rather tame effort on the volley at the far right, but the Ivorian captain was on target and put Clementito Danilo to work early on in Equatorial Guinea's goal. The Elephants look up to the task and are stringing passes together with the ease and confidence of a side who know they deserve to be here.
Ivory Coast get the first half underway with the winner of this crunch encounter going on to face the victor between Gabon and Mali tomorrow in the semi-finals next week.
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Equatorial Guinea are rated at 8/1 beat Ivory Coast today and progress to the semi-final stages according to our friends at Sky Bet, while the Elephants are 4/11 to come out victorious.
In team news, Cote d'Ivoire coach Francois Zahoui is set to recall his key men after resting nine players for the final group game. With no injury or suspension worries, captain Didier Drogba, Yaya Toure, Gervinho and Didier Zokora are among those expected to return. Nzalang Nacional will again be without the services of regular skipper Rodolfo Bodipo, but centre-back Laurence Doe and midfielder Randy return from suspension, while Kily will come back into contention after being rested.
Greetings and welcome to Nuevo Estadio de Malabo for the AFCON quarter-final clash between Ivory Coast and Equatorial Guinea! The Central African minnows have proved one of the surprise packages at this year's African showpiece, and only a 1-0 defeat to Zambia in their final Group A game prevented Gilson Paulo's men from progressing to the last-eight as group winners. The Elephants, though, will prove much more staunch opponents than Group A flops Libya and Senegal, with Didier Drogba and Co. having recorded a 100% record in Group B, scoring five goals and conceding exactly zero.