Ya Konan scores as Ivory Coast beats Mali 1-0

BY foxsports • February 8, 2011

Didier Drogba made a winning return to international football on Tuesday as he helped Ivory Coast to a 1-0 victory over Mali in a friendly.

With just three minutes played, Drogba chested down a long ball into the path of Lille striker Gervinho and his cross from the right was slammed high into the net by Hannover striker Didier Ya Konan for his first international goal.

Ya Konan earned a starting place in Francois Zahoui's team after an impressive tally of 10 goals in 19 Bundesliga games. Zahoui chose an ambitious attacking formation with Ya Konan and Gervinho playing off Drogba as the central striker.

Drogba, who had not played for his country since last year's World Cup, almost got his 46th international goal when he volleyed narrowly over from inside the penalty area in the 35th minute.

Drogba's Chelsea teammate Salomon Kalou almost made it 2-0 early in the second half when he weaved past three players but clipped his shot just over from 10 meters out.

Mali missed a penalty in the second half.

Drogba made the relatively short trip from London to southeast France after last playing for his country in a 3-0 win over North Korea in the group stage in South Africa last year under former coach Sven-Goran Eriksson.

Zahoui included Kolo and Yaya Toure of Manchester City and Emmanuel Eboue of Arsenal in a strong squad. Former Real Madrid midfielder Mahamadou Diarra, now with Monaco, made his 61st appearance for Mali.

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