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Ivory Coast starts with win in African Cup's toughest group

Ivory Coast's Jonathan Kodjia, center, scores his side's opening goal during the African Cup of Nations group D soccer match between Ivory Coast and S...
Ivory Coast's Jonathan Kodjia kicks the ball as South Africa's goalkeeper Ronwen Williams makes a save during the African Cup of Nations group D socce...
South Africa's Thulani Hlatshwayo, foreground, fights for the ball with Ivory Coast's Franck Yannick jessie during the African Cup of Nations group D ...
Ivory Coast's Serge Wilfried Kanon, left, and Ivory Coast's Serge Aurier celebrate end of the African Cup of Nations group D soccer match between Ivor...
South Africa team players pose prior to the start of the African Cup of Nations group D soccer match between Ivory Coast and South Africa in Al Salam ...
South Africa's Lebo Mothiba, left, fights for the ball with Ivory Coast's Serge Wilfried Kanon during the African Cup of Nations group D soccer match ...

Ivory Coast's Jonathan Kodjia, center, scores his side's opening goal during the African Cup of Nations group D soccer match between Ivory Coast and S...

Ivory Coast's Jonathan Kodjia kicks the ball as South Africa's goalkeeper Ronwen Williams makes a save during the African Cup of Nations group D socce...

South Africa's Thulani Hlatshwayo, foreground, fights for the ball with Ivory Coast's Franck Yannick jessie during the African Cup of Nations group D ...

Ivory Coast's Serge Wilfried Kanon, left, and Ivory Coast's Serge Aurier celebrate end of the African Cup of Nations group D soccer match between Ivor...

South Africa team players pose prior to the start of the African Cup of Nations group D soccer match between Ivory Coast and South Africa in Al Salam ...

South Africa's Lebo Mothiba, left, fights for the ball with Ivory Coast's Serge Wilfried Kanon during the African Cup of Nations group D soccer match ...

CAIRO (AP) — Ivory Coast began its campaign in the African Cup of Nations' toughest group with a 1-0 win over South Africa on Monday.

The Ivorians edged an early crunch game at the tournament in Egypt when Jonathan Kodjia finished neatly from a cross by Max Gradel in the second half.

The striker's goal was enough, although Nicolas Pepe hit the crossbar with a free kick for Ivory Coast in the first half and was denied again near the end when another free kick was saved brilliantly by Ronwen Williams.

Group D has three former champions in Ivory Coast, South Africa and Morocco. Morocco beat Namibia 1-0 on Sunday.

In Monday's second game, Angola scored a late equalizer to draw 1-1 with Tunisia in Group E when Djalma Campos pounced on a goalkeeper error.

Youssef M'Sakni gave Tunisia the lead in the first half from the penalty spot.

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Updated : 2021-03-08 15:21 GMT+08:00