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Max Gradel stars as African champions Ivory Coast return to action with win

Less than two months after winning the Africa Cup of Nations title in Equatorial Guinea, the Ivory Coast returned to action with a 2-0 victory over Angola.

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Saint-Etienne news

The Elephants returned to action at the Stade Felix Houphouet-Boigny with a comfortable victory over Angola.

Their Lusophone opponents failed to qualify for the recent continental showpiece and struggled to contain Herve Renard’s Elephants.

Saint-Etienne’s in-form Max Gradel was again given a starting berth ahead of Hertha Berlin’s Salomon Kalou, but it was the ex-Chelsea forward who found the net—firing home from the spot on 90 minutes.

That goal game after centre-back Ousmane Viera had given the home side the lead on 22 minutes.

As well as Gradel, Toulouse full-back Jean-Daniel Akpa-Akpro played the full 90 minutes, while Montpellier’s Siaka Tiene continued his injury comeback with 57 minutes of action.

Metz’s Cheick Doukoure added to his nascent cap collection in the dying moments while SC Bastia’s Giovanni Sio—who was overlooked for the Afcon—was also given a 15-minute run-out.

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