Keisuke Honda put the game into 5th gear from 15 yards out with a strike that crashed into the back of the net. Getting the scoring started in the 16th minute.
Uchida missed a good opportunity in the 20th min.
YaYa Toure’s free kicks were well off the mark. But besides that, the Ivoirians had terrible footing near the Japanese goal. Ruined a very promising chance in the 34th minute by Wilfried Bony.
Wilfried Bony had the same problem in the 48th minute. Having trouble heading a ball and missing the goal.
Didier Drogba came on at the hour mark. To try and get some things started. The Ivoirians were now offense heavy. And this was the time to turn it around.
In the 63rd Wilfried Bony final got it right. Heading in a Serge Aurier service. So Bony was able to erase the thoughts of missed opportunities earlier in the game.
Then in the 66th Gervinho was able to put the Ivoirians ahead. Just like that the whole game changed. Serge Aurier once again served up a quality ball to strike.
Drogba came close to putting the game completely out of reach in the 84th. But his shot was deflected.
Both teams played a great game. Through all the rain, it made the game more difficult. But Ivory Coast was simply relentless on the offensive end. Especially after Drogba came on.
Japan did not play poorly. They did not get many second half scoring attempts. But they need to keep the pressure on offensively. That will be the best benefit to the defense. There were just too many shot by the Elephants.
The Ivoirians played a good game but it wasn’t flawless. They would have to maintain offensively. But the Blue Samurais showed that it was possible to get through. And they need to not get complacent on the defensive side of the ball.