Holders Ivory Coast ousted from Cup of Nations

Morocco's players celebrate after scoring a goal against Ivory Coast during the Africa Cup of Nations match in Oyem on Tuesday night. (AFP)
Updated 25 January 2017
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Holders Ivory Coast ousted from Cup of Nations

OYEM, Gabon: Defending champions the Ivory Coast were sent packing from the Africa Cup of Nations on Tuesday after losing 1-0 to a Morocco side coached by their old boss Herve Renard.
A brilliant Rachid Alioui goal gave Morocco the victory in Oyem in northern Gabon as the Atlas Lions marched on to the quarterfinals alongside DR Congo.
An impressive Congolese side eased to a 3-1 win against Togo in the night’s other game in Port-Gentil as they sealed top spot in Group C.
But it is the elimination of the Elephants, winners in 2015 after a penalty shoot-out against Ghana, that overshadows all else.
Their departure is the latest blow to the tournament following premature exits for hosts Gabon and much-fancied Algeria in the last few days.
And for the fourth consecutive Cup of Nations, the reigning champions will be absent from the quarterfinals, but the winning coach from two years ago will be in the last eight.
The blond, bronzed 48-year-old, wearing his lucky white shirt, hopes to become the first coach to win three Cup of Nations titles with three different countries having also won it with Zambia in 2012.
“Today we beat the Ivory Coast on a bad pitch that proved to be a leveller. Now a new competition begins with the knockout matches, which will be much like this one, and we will need a winning mentality,” Renard said.
Alioui, of French second-tier side Nimes, curled in a sublime long-range effort at the end of a counterattack just past the hour mark to break the deadlock and leave the Ivorians needing to score twice to stay alive. They could not.
“It is an immense disappointment. My thoughts go out to all Ivorians who are going through a difficult time,” said their French coach Michel Dussuyer.
“I take responsibility. We did not fulfil our objectives. Our ambition was to get past the first round and retain our title. It is going to be a difficult night,” he added as he refused to be drawn on his future in the job.
As the Ivorians prepare to go home, Morocco will now head to Port-Gentil for a quarterfinal while DR Congo make their way back to Oyem.
Florent Ibenge’s side needed just a draw to qualify but a 3-1 win over Togo secured top spot and the manner of their performance on a shocking pitch suggests the 2015 semifinalists must be seen as genuine contenders to win the trophy now.
Junior Kabananga fired past Togo’s substitute goalkeeper Cedric Mensah for the opener just before the half-hour mark and he also headed against the post prior to the interval.
Neeskens Kebano of Fulham lobbed in the second goal nine minutes into the second period after latching onto Marcel Tisserand’s punt downfield.
Kodjo Fo-Doh Laba pulled one back for Togo but a Paul-Jose Mpoku free kick with 10 minutes left that struck the underside of the bar and came down just over the line secured the win.
“Having gone top of the group after two rounds of games we needed to remain vigilant and we did that,” said Ibenge.
“They gave us a fright after we had gone 2-0 up and had we not matured as a team thanks to the two years we have spent together we might have panicked.”
Togo and their captain Emmanuel Adebayor were given a guard of honor at the end by the Congolese players but they go home having failed to register a win.
The group stage concludes on Wednesday when Ghana and Egypt clash in Port-Gentil and Mali meet already-eliminated Uganda in Oyem in Group D.
Egypt needs a draw to secure progress to the last eight along with Ghana, but if they slip up Mali could take advantage by beating the Ugandans.

Today’s matches

Egypt vs. Ghana (10:00 p.m. KSA time)

Uganda vs. Mali (10: 00 p.m. KSA time)


Siakam has 30 points, Raptors top Magic 98-93 for 2-1 lead

Updated 20 April 2019
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Siakam has 30 points, Raptors top Magic 98-93 for 2-1 lead

  • Siakam was 13 for 20 from the floor
  • Raptors held Orlando to 36% shooting

ORLANDO, Florida: Pascal Siakam had 30 points and 11 rebounds, Kawhi Leonard added 16 points and the Toronto Raptors held off the Orlando Magic 98-93 on Friday night to take a 2-1 lead in the Eastern Conference first-round series.
Siakam was 13 for 20 from the floor and the Raptors held Orlando to 36% shooting. Leonard had 10 rebounds, Danny Green had 13 points and Kyle Lowry finished with 12 points and 10 assist.
Terrence Ross led Orlando with 24 points, and Nikola Vucevic shook off a slow start to finish with 22 points and 14 rebounds.
Game 4 is Sunday night in Orlando.
The Raptors trailed 61-60 midway through the third, then went on a 16-0 run over the next four minutes to take the lead for good. Siakam and Green were both 3 for 3 during the run, the Magic missed 10 consecutive shots over a span of 6 1/2 minutes and had to play uphill the rest of the way.
That being said, they went down swinging.
Lowry’s 3-pointer with 7:48 left gave Toronto its biggest lead at 86-69. The Magic came flying back, and Ross’ 3-pointer with 41 seconds left got Orlando to 96-93.
Leonard was short with a jumper on the next possession — but the Magic couldn’t control the rebound, and were doomed shortly afterward. Leonard made a pair of free throws with 12.9 seconds remaining to make it a two-possession game again, and that closed the scoring.
Orlando, which finished the regular season by winning 13 of its final 14 home games, was 13 of 44 from 3-point range.
Toronto scored the first 10 points — the last five by Siakam, who was a problem from the outset for the Magic — and led by as many as 11 in the first half.
Orlando got within one on three occasions in the first half, but never got the lead in the opening 24 minutes. Toronto took a 48-45 lead into the break after Ross beat the clock from midcourt at the buzzer.
He took off from the Magic logo and released the ball with about a half-second remaining, it hitting the square on the backboard perfectly and dropping through. Ross never broke stride, watching the ball’s flight as he ran and kept going through the tunnel leading to the Magic locker room.
TIP-INS
Raptors: Toronto had lost four consecutive Game 3s. ... Patrick McCaw (sprained right thumb) was active, but did not play. ... The Raptors are 6-1 in their last seven road games this season. ... Siakam has 73 points and 30 rebounds in the series.
Magic: Among the former Orlando players in the building were Tracy McGrady, Jameer Nelson and Horace Grant. ... Orlando missed three shots at the rim in one third-quarter possession. Vucevic missed at the rim, and Gordon couldn’t convert on two putback tries. ... Attendance was 19,367, the second-most in the Amway Center’s nine-season history.
GOVERNOR SPEAKS
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and the state’s first lady Casey DeSantis were in attendance and received Magic “46” jerseys — a nod to his being the 46th governor of the Sunshine State. The governor and Magic CEO Alex Martins spoke pregame about the hope for Orlando to get another All-Star Game soon, though all through 2022 has already been awarded to other Eastern Conference cities — and Milwaukee, another East city, has expressed interest in 2023.
UP NEXT
Game 4 is Sunday night in Orlando.