First half goals from Koffi Boua and Gbagnon Badie powered Cote d’Ivoire to a 2-1 win over Guinea in the third place match on Sunday in Kigali.
Goalkeeper Abdoul Karim Cisse was the hero for ‘Les Elephants’ saving two penalties in either half as the Ivorians claimed bronze at the expense of the Syli Nationale, who pulled one back through Aboubacar Leo Camara in the closing stages.
The feat represents the best ever performance for the Ivorians in the history of the championship having hosted the maiden edition in 2009. The West African exited at the group stage on the two previous appearances in 2009 and 2011.
Cisse, who was making his debut at the championship, left a lasting mark denying Guinea midfielder Ibrahima Sory Sankhon on 26 minutes from the spot.
Six minutes later, Boua broke the deadlock with a low shot past Guinea goalie Abdoul Aziz Keita before Badie doubled the lead on 35 minutes by connecting home a cross from the right.
With a two goal lead at the break, it was the Ivorians who almost added to their tally upon resumption of the second half after Aka Essis put Boua through with a nice lob, but the latter shot wide with Keita at his mercy.
Guinea organised themselves and earned a penalty on 63 minutes after Cheick Ibrahim Comara fouled substitute Mohamed Thiam in the vital area. Again, Cisse was at his agile best by saving Alseny Camara’s shot from the short distance.
Five minutes from time, Camara headed in from close range but it only served as a consolation for the Syli Nationale.
Orange Man of the Match: Abdoul Karim Cisse (Cote d’Ivoire)