Côte d’Ivoire reclaimed their place on top of Group D in the qualifiers for the Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup after beating Mozambique 3-0 in Cotonou on Saturday.
Cameroon had temporarily moved top of the group with their 4-0 victory Malawi, but Les Elephants ensured they moved back top, the victory over the Mambas taking them to 13 points, one ahead of the Indomitable Lions who they play in their last match in Douala on Tuesday.
Maxwell Cornet and Max Alain Gradel combined twice while Jean Michael Seri added a third to give Cote d’Ivoire the vital three points.
Under pressure to pick victory after Cameroon won earlier on, the Ivorians started strong and Sebastian Haller tested the keeper early on with a strong shot from the right that was palmed away.
They got into the lead in the 10th minute when Gradel slid in to guide home a well weighted cross from Cornet.
Mozambique had a good chance to get back into the game in the 18th minute but Witi saw his shot fly straight to the keeper’s arms. In the 43rd minute, Gildo Lourenco Vilanculos broke into the Ivorian box but his first time shot went just wide with Sylvain Gbohouo sprawling on the floor.
In the second half, Mozambique had come back determined to get themselves into the game.
They were however pegged back on the hour mark when Cornet and Gradel combined once again, this time Cornet coming to the end of a Gradel cross from the right before bouncing a volley beyond the keeper and into the net.
At the stroke of 90 minutes, Les Elephants sealed the victory with Seri shooting low from inside the box off a Yohan Boli assist from a quickly taken throw.