Ivory Coast thrashed Niger 3-0 in their 2021 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualification clash in Group K at the Stade Général Seyni Kountché in Niamey on Friday.

The Elephants secured their place in the finals after climbing to the top of the group standings, 1 point ahead of Ethiopia, while the Menas’ hopes of qualifying have now officially come to an end.

Cote d’Ivoire were far more superior with attacks from the first whistle and they deservedly opened the scoring in the 25th minute through captain, Serge Aurier.

The Tottenham Hotspur full-back beat Niger goalkeeper Daouda Kassaly with a low shot to make it 1-0 to the Elephants.

The visitors were out seeking blood as they kept attacking relentlessly after taking the lead. They continued to push forward in numbers and managed to double their advantage after speedy attacker Max-Alain Gradel hit the back of the net.

The 33-year-old experience winger found himself on the scoresheet in the 34th minute to make it 2-0 to Ivory Coast after the Niger defence was punished for their slow response.Ivory Coast went into break 2-0 up and could have had more goals.The Elephants continued where they left off as they extended their lead through their centre-back Wilfried Kanon at the hour mark to seal the deal for the West Africans.

The Ivorian defender who is on loan from Pyramids at Al-Gharafa, found the back of the net to hand his team an unassailable 3-0 lead.

Niger brought on striker Ibrahim Issa, in hopes of salvaging something for the Menas, but the hosts struggled to break through the Ivory Coast defence.

The visitors did not sit back and defend in the latter stages of the game as coach Patrice Beaumelle brought on Crystal Palace star Wilfried Zaha who has managed to make a quick return from injury.

Ivory Coast will be one of the heavyweights going into next year’s AFCON so do watch out for the Elephants.

Aurier praised his Ivory Coast teammates and the coaching staff after the side managed to secure their berth at the 2022 Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon.



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“We are qualified! I first want to pay tribute to our president of the federation, Mr. Augustin Sidy Diallo, this qualification was your wish like all the other years, it is what we did and I know that you are proud of your children! Rest in peace we will never forget you,” Aurier stated on Instagram.

“Bravo to all! Staff, players, and to all those who support us in good times as in bad times, impossible to imagine an AFCON without the Ivory Coast! Some will say that it is normal, I say that it is just necessary to congratulate those who fight to maintain the colours of our country among the great of this continent and the whole world! This is what is normal!

“We have one last match left to complete this chapter on Tuesday to celebrate all together.”

This is how Group K of the AFCON qualifiers looks with each team left to play 1 game.

  1. Ivory Coast – 10 points (Q)
  2. Ethiopia – 9 points
  3. Madagascar – 7 points
  4. Niger – 3 points

Ethiopia will face off against the Ivorians next in what is a must-win for the side as Madagascar should beat Niger and move onto 10 points. Any result barring a Madagascar win along with an Ethiopia loss willl guarantee the Walias a place in next year’s AFCON finals to be held in Cameroon.