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African Nations Cup: Ivory Coast, Zambia ease into semi-finals

February 05, 2012 12:37 IST

Ivory Coast and Zambia ruthlessly crushed African Nations Cup underdogs Equatorial Guinea and Sudan 3-0 respectively on Saturday to end the dreams of opponents who had upset the odds to reach the last eight.

Co-hosts Equatorial Guinea were taken apart by favourites Ivory Coast, whose 33-year-old striker Didier Drogba scored twice after missing a penalty before Yaya Toure's long-range freekick completed the win on another steamy Malabo evening.

Ivory Coast will face Gabon or Mali, who meet on Sunday in Libreville, in the semi-finals as they attempt to win their first title since 1992.

Zambia's Stopilla Sunzu, captain Chris Katongo and James Chamanga shared the goals in their quarter-final victory over Sudan in Bata to keep coach Herve Renard awake against opponents he described as sleep-inducing.

Zambia's semi-final opponents will be Ghana or Tunisia, who play in Franceville on Sunday.

Debutants Equatorial Guinea's collection of Spanish lower league players, who qualify to represent the country through their parents, and naturalised foreign imports had surpassed expectations by reaching the last eight with wins over Libya and Senegal.

The same went for Sudan, whose entire squad is based at home and whose win over Burkina Faso in their final group game was their first since the 1970 tournament which they won.

After the Ivorians played some excellent football in the previous three tournaments but failed to win, coach Francois Zahoui has this time given them a more pragmatic approach and they have yet to concede a goal in four outings.

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