FT: Colombia holds off Ivory Coast in raucous Brasilia

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The World Cup Group C match between the Ivory Coast and Colombia was not without drama, action or skill — let alone a yellow-clad crowd at full-throat — but it sure took a while to find its finishing touch.

But when it did…

James Rodriguez scored off a corner kick midway through the second half and Juan Fernando Quintero added his first international goal six minutes later to propel Colombia to the knockout rounds with a 2-1 win.

By the time Gervinho tallied for the Ivory Coast in the 73rd minute, there had been three goals in a frenetic 9-minute span.

Dinged cross bars, flubbed sitters and a raucous crowd were all part of a fun affair in Brasilia.

Didier Drogba was again a bench player, not coming on until the 60th minute (just as he did in sparking Les Elephants 2-1 come-from-behind win over Japan in the group opener).

Colombia was the better team for the match’s first half-hour, maybe even 35 minutes. There was constant danger from the Coffee Makers, but they couldn’t finish; The best example of their failure to finish was Teo’s inability to tap home a gorgeous cross.

The Ivory Coast found some danger in the final 10 minutes before halftime, but couldn’t find their way through, either. Here’s what we were saying at halftime.

James –pronounced “Ham-ez” — Rodriguez finally provided the opening goal in the 64th minute when he crushed a header past Boubacar Barry off Juan Cuadrado’s picturesque near post corner.

Quintero made the most of a bad Ivory Coast giveaway when he latched onto a terrific through ball to double the lead.

But just three minutes later it was Gervinho giving Les Elephants life with a tremendous off-balance dribble capped with a right-footed shot past Ospina to make it 2-1.

The drama didn’t stop with the goals, as Drogba threatened multiple times including off a horrific mistouch by Yepes. The defender was bailed out by Ospina.

Also of note was a drive by Quintero from just past half that almost cost Barry off his line.

LINEUPS:

Ivory Coast –  Barry; Aurier, Bamba, Boka, Zokora; Tiote, Yaya Toure, Die, Gradel (Kalou, 67′); Gervinho, Bony (Drogba, 60′)

Goals: Gervinho (73′)

Colombia — Ospina; Armero (Arias, 71′), Zapata, Yepes (c), Zúñiga; Aguilar, Sánchez, James, Cuadrado, Ibarbo (Quintero, 53′); Teo

Goals: Rodriguez (64′), Quintero (70′)