Third time's the charm for Ivory Coast?
TWO goals in two second-half minutes saw the Ivory Coast come from behind and beat Japan 2-1 in a dramatic World Cup Group C encounter on Saturday.
A fine Keisuke Honda strike after 16 minutes had put Japan in front at the Pernambuco Arena in Recife, but the Ivorians introduced Didier Drogba from the bench just after the hour mark before going on to turn the game on its head.
Within five minutes of the veteran striker's arrival on the rain-soaked surface, the Elephants scored twice, both times from Serge Aurier crosses. The equaliser came when the right-back's curling delivery was headed home by Wilfried Bony, before Gervinho connected with another Aurier centre to stun the Japanese contingent inside the stadium.
The result sees the Ivory Coast join Colombia - who beat Greece 3-0 earlier in the day - on three points atop Group C.
"We didn't start the match very well and we switched off at the goal, but then we started to create chances. For us it was so important to start this World Cup positively," said Lamouchi. "Having a player like Didier Drogba in your side, whether he is starting or on the bench, changes a match. The players are delighted with the victory, but we are not through yet."
The Elephants are desperate to progress beyond the group stage at a World Cup after failing in 2006 and 2010, and they were boosted in Recife by the presence in their starting line-up of Yaya Toure, who shrugged off a hamstring problem in time to captain the side.