Ethiopia laboured a hard fought 2-1 victory against group’s favourites Ivory Coast 2-1 at the Bahirdar international stadium, as the unbeaten ran in this stadium continued.
Ethiopia, who lost there opening fixture against Madagascar on Saturday, made two changes as Addis Gidey and Taffese Solomon were newly included in the starting 11 to face the Elephants. Meanwhile, Ivory Coast were without Frank Kessie, who scored from the spot to hand his side a slender win against Niger and Wilfred Zaha also missed due to injurey.
Ivory Coast took the lead in the 2nd minute through Tottenham Hotspurs energetic full back Sergi Aurier. After Max Gradel’s free kick was spilled by Ethiopia’s goalie Abel Mamo, Aurier slotted home from close range thanks to Ethiopia’s defence who failed to clear on time.
After conceding the opening goal the host were in total control of the match.
Ethiopia pulled level on the 15th minute as Surafel Dangachew’s free kick was deflected home by Ivory Coast defenders to pull one back for the home side.
After the equalizer, Ethiopians were on full swing to get another goal.Walia’s skipper Shimeles Bekele exquisite finish in the 25th minute gave them the lead leaving the ivory goal keeper disappointed.
Later in the first half Ethiopia’s goalie Abel Mamo was forced to be replaced by Mentesnote Alo after sustaining an injury.
After the restart, Ethiopia were once again in the front foot as Surafel Dangachew and Abubaker Nasser came close to extend their lead.
More or less the second half was a foul riddled match as the Ivorian once again were poor on creating chances from open play as their opening group encounter in Abidjan.
Ivory Coast were dominant in the last 20 minutes for a late gasp draw, but Ethiopia backed by their packed supporters hang on their 2-1 lead.
After just two matches into AFCON 2021 qualifiers Group K seems fairly balanced contest as Ethiopia are level on points with Ivory Coast, also the last edition AFCON surprise packages Madagascar with 3 points will take on Niger in late kickoff later today.