Visiting Guinea made matters worse for Cote d’Ivoire after handing the two-time African champions a 3-2 defeat in their Group H opener in Bouake on Saturday.
The loss comes barely six days after the Elephants tasted a 5-0 drubbing at the hands of Netherlands in a friendly in Rotterdam, leaving Belgian-born trainer Marc Wilmots without a win since assuming the reins of “Les Elephants” last March.
The defeat will also serve a bitter pill for the 2015 African champions, who were seeking for a win as a deserving homage to former midfielder Cheick Tiote, who passed on earlier in the week in China after collapsing at training.
With right-back Serge Aurier as captain, Les Elephants broke the deadlock through veteran forward Seydou Doumbia after 14 minutes.
The lead won’t last long before Abdoulaye Diallo drew even on 32 minutes capitalizing on a blunder by Ivorian goalie Sylvain Gbohouo, who spilled a harmless shot, and the former pounced on to score.
Doumbia restored the homers lead on 62 minutes, but four minutes later, Francois Kamano made it two-all.
On 79 minutes, Germany-based forward Naby Keita stunned the home crowd with the winner scrambling home from a goalmouth action as the Ivorians succumbed a painful defeat at their backyard.
Guinea occupies top spot of Group H temporary with three points, pending the Central African Republic versus Rwanda encounter on Sunday in Bangui. The Ivorians have no point.
Elsewhere in Francistown, located in the eastern part of Botswana, Mauritania got their campaign to a winning start with substitute Mohamed Soudani’s 78th minute goal separating the two sides in the Group I fixture.
However, Burkina Faso leads the pack in the group after a 3-1 win over Angola in Ouagadougou. A first half brace from veteran forward Aristide Bance and a late strike from Bertrand Traore sealed victory with Gelson netting a consolation for the “Palancas Negras”.
In Group C, midfielder Yves Bissouma inspired Mali to come from behind to beat Gabon in Bamako. The 20-year old, who plays for French side Lille, scored the winner on 57 minutes. Three minutes earlier, Kalifa Coulibaly had canceled Denis Bouanga’s third minutes lead for ‘Les Pantheres”.
The other Group C encounter saw Burundi make light work of South Sudan with a 3-0 win in Bujumbura. All three goals came in the first half with Cedric Amissi breaking the deadlock on 12 minutes. Gael Duhayindavyi doubled the lead four minutes later before Abdoul Fiston scored the third on the half-hour mark.
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10.06.2017 Dakar Senegal vs Equatorial Guinea
10.06.2017 Yaounde Cameroon 1-0 Morocco
10.06.2017 Lilongwe Malawi 1-0 Comoros
10.06.2017 Bamako Mali 2-1 Gabon
10.06.2017 Bujumbura Burundi 3-1 South Sudan
11.06.2017 Blida Algeria vs Togo
11.06.2017 Cotonou Benin vs Gambia
9.06.2017 Cairo Libya 5-1 Seychelles
10.06.2017 Uyo Nigeria 0-2 South Africa
10.06.2017 Freetown Sierra Leone 2-1 Kenya
11.06.2017 Kumasi Ghana vs Ethiopia
10.06.2017 Kinshasa DR Congo 3-1 Congo
11.06.2017 Harare Zimbabwe vs Liberia
10.06.2017 Bouake Cote d’Ivoire 2-3 Guinea
11.06.2017 Bangui Central African Rep. vs Rwanda
10.06.2017 Ouagadougou Burkina Faso 3-1 Angola
10.06.2017 Francistown Botswana 0-1 Mauritania
10.06.2017 Niamey Niger 0-0 Swaziland
11.06.2017 Tunis Tunisia vs Egypt
10.06.2017 Ndola Zambia 0-1 Mozambique
10.06.2017 Bissau Guinea Bissau 1-0 Namibia
10.06.2017 Dar es Salaam Tanzania 1-1 Lesotho
11.06.2017 Praia Cape Verde vs Uganda