Ivory Coast qualified for its third consecutive World Cup finals tournament with a 1-1 draw Saturday against Senegal in a contest played in nearby Casablanca.
Salomon Kalou scored in the 94th minute to gain the “road” draw for Ivory Coast; the match was played in Morocco due to sanctions against Senegal involving riots that halted an African Nations Cup contest against the same opponent (Ivory Coast) last year.
The former, longtime Chelsea man’s late strike settled matters once and for all, as the nation now under Sabri Lamouchi’s management had prevailed in the first leg, 3-1.
So Ivory Coast (you will see the French-speaking nation written frequently in world soccer circles as “Cote D’Ivoire”) moves on to another tournament. The team failed to advance out of group stage in 2006 or in 2010.
A 77th-minute penalty kick Saturday made things a bit nervous for the Elephants, who carried a slim 3-2 lead on aggregate into the game’s final minutes. And they were under pressure until Kalou’s strike sealed the battle.
One more team will qualify out of Africa on Sunday, and then two more on Tuesday.