MALABO, Equatorial Guinea (AP) — Didier Drogba scored from a first-half header as pre-tournament favorite Ivory Coast opened its African Cup of Nations campaign with a 1-0 win against Sudan on Sunday.
Drogba’s header thumped into the back of the net from Chelsea teammate Salomon Kalou’s cross in the 39th minute to cap a period of constant pressure.
Arsenal striker Gervinho had several chances to extend the lead but his finishing let him down, forcing Ivory Coast to endure a nervous finale.
Ranked more than 100 places below Ivory Coast, Sudan went closest when Mudathir El-Taieb’s shot rattled the crossbar just before halftime.
Later, Angola plays Burkina Faso in the other Group B match at the Nuevo Estadio de Malabo.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.