Ivory Coast became the first African team to register a victory at the Olympics in Tokyo, as the west Africans edged Saudi Arabia 2-1 at a game played at the International Stadium in Yokohama on Thursday, 22 July.
The Ivorians are making their first appearance in the Olympics since the Beijing 2008 games and they made the perfect start with three points to give them the confidence they need to take on the other two countries in group D – Brazil and Germany.
The Saudi Arabians, meanwhile, had not taken part in the Olympics since 1996 and were hoping to make a good start, but they found themselves a goal down six minutes before the break when defender Abdulelah Alamri scored an own goal to hand Ivory Coast a 1-0 lead.
Saudi Arabia, however, did not allow the own goal to get their spirits. It did not take long for them to bounce back, as they levelled matters before the break with a goal from Salem Aldawsari in the 44th minute.
The two countries went out into the second half looking for the winner and it was AC Milan midfielder Franck Kessie who was the hero for the Africans, with a well-taken goal with his left foot. After receiving a ball from the right wing, the talented midfielder controlled it, made a turn and powered in a shot with his left foot to hand his country a valuable victory.