FRISCO, Texas – With captain Didier Drogba leading the way, the Ivory Coast shook off a poor performance against Bosnia-Herzegovina, and despite some sluggish moments, did what they needed to do to beat a young El Salvador side in front of an impassioned crowd of 18,578 at Toyota Stadium Wednesday night.
The Elephants ultimately won by a score of 2-1, but the effort was more labored than the West Africans would have preferred. The Ivoreans were forced to hold off a late push from the Central Americans after a 75th minute goal.
The first goal came before even 10 minutes were played as Drogba fed Gervinho in behind the Salvador defense for an easy finish. The pair teamed up again in the 42nd minute, this time with Drogba getting the finish.
El Salvador’s goal came after Kolo Toure was called for a foul on Orlando City player Darwin Ceren in the Ivory Coast penalty area. Former FC Dallas and Real Salt Lake player Arturo Alvarez made the most of the chance, confidently putting it into the side netting. The finish inspired the mostly El Salvador crowd for the rest of the match.
Ivory Coast is preparing for their World Cup effort that starts on June 14 against Japan. Drogba’s side is considered one of the stronger sides from Africa and is expected to contend for advancement out of the group that also includes South American power Colombia, as well as Greece.
El Salvador brought a very young side, with the oldest player for the team being the goal scorer Alvarez, in preparation for the upcoming Copa Centroamericano and the following World Cup qualification effort for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.