Lister’s Lowdown: Drogba despair in victory

Chris Lister's Lowdown

This was to be the last friendly match for each team ahead of the World Cup, which starts next Friday, 11th June.  Both teams also agreed to play an extra 45-minute half in order to give every member of the squads a last time to impress.  This was an exciting prospect as I could sit and enjoy “3 halves” of impressive football, but this was not to be the case.

Les Elephants dominated the first half and made numerous chances for scoring opportunities, which brought them a goal which deflected off defender Tulio from Drogba’s initial strike.  The team looked confident and well-oiled, working together to keep possession and created some interesting patterns of play.  All was going well, until the 16th minute…

Didier Drogba received the ball just behind the halfway line and flicked it over a Japanese midfielder’s head; upon controlling it Tulio ran up and clattered into him, knocking him straight to the ground.

As soon as it happened, I knew it was serious because he stayed down.  After a few minutes of what looked to be intense pain, Drogba was helped up and managed to walk off the pitch, holding his arm in discomfort, he looked a broken man.  He was then replaced with Doumbia, who played well and looked sharp.

The second half continued in the same way as the first.  Ivory Coast continued to dominate possession and could even afford to control the pace of play for the whole game.  Kolo Toure scored the second from close range in the 81st minute to seal it for Les Elephants.

The players all seemed confident and there seemed to be a good mood throughout the team.  Apart from a few chances the defense looked solid, the midfield looked dominant, and the strikers looked deadly, especially counter attacking.  Yaya Toure was a rock in front of the defensive line, never giving the ball away, protecting and directing play; he was my man of the match.

Unfortunately the final 45 minutes were not televised so I could not watch the reserves play.  After a long and dramatic game, I sat for the rest of the evening in shock at how only days ago in this article I highlighted the dangers of friendlies so close to such big tournaments.

Drogba initially thought he was out of the cup, but doctors are now analyzing and deciding whether Drogba will be able to take part in the World Cup at all.  We wait with baited breath on the news and fate of our hero Didier Drogba, without him it is an uphill battle for sure.

Lister’s man of the match: Yaya Toure

Lineups:

Ivory Coast

Boubacar Barry

Guy Demel

Kolo Toure

Emmanuel Eboue

Siaka Chico Tiene

Gneri Toure Yaya

Didier Zokora

Ismael Cheik Tiote

Didier Drogba

Salomon Kalou

Aruna Dindane

Japan

Eiji Kawashima

Yuji Nakazawa

Tulio Tanaka

Yasuyuki Konno

Yuto Nagatomo

Yasuhito Endo

Makoto Hasebe

Yuki Abe

Keisuke Honda

Yoshito Okubo

Shinji Okazaki

Kazuya Yamamura

Substitutions:

Ivory Coast

Daniel Yeboah

Aristide Zogbo

Arthur Boka

Steve Gohouri

Souleymane Bamba

Angouan Brou

Ndri Romaric

Yao Kouassi Gervinho

Jean-Jaques Gosso

Emmanuel Kone

Abdul Kader Keita

Seydou Doumbia

Japan

Yoshikatsu Kawaguchi

Seigo Narazaki

Yuichi Komano

Atsuto Uchida

Daiki Iwamasa

Junichi Inamoto

Shunsuke Nakamura

Daisuke Matsui

Kengo Nakamura

Keiji Tamada

Takayuki Morimoto

Kisho Yano

Kensuke Nagai

Shinji Kagawa

Tomoyuki Sakai

Substitutions:

Seydou Doumbia for Didier Drogba (18)

Shunsuke Nakamura for Keisuke Honda (46)

Kengo Nakamura for Yasuhito Endo (46)

Abdulkader Keita for Seydou Doumbia (66)

Junichi Inamoto for Yuki Abe (46)

Keiji Tamada for Shinji Okazaki (66)

Takayuki Morimoto for Yoshito Okubo (66)

Yuichi Komano for Yasuyuki Konno (67)

Emmanuel Kone for Ismael Cheik Tiote (88)

Yellow Cards:

Tanaka (16)

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