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Côte d'Ivoire

Afcon 2021: Ivory Coast 'dressing room remained silent' - Beaumelle

2:48 PM GMT 17/01/2022
Ivory Coast coach Patrice Beaumelle.
The Elephants had to settle for a point after a late mistake from goalkeeper Badra Ali Sangare saw Sierra Leone equalise

Ivory Coast head coach Patrick Beaumelle and forward Nicolas Pepe have reacted after they were dramatically held to a 2-2 Africa Cup of Nations draw against Sierra Leone on Sunday.

The Elephants were headed for a win before a late howler by goalkeeper Badra Sangare’s gave Leone Stars a chance to equalise in added time to deny the former Afcon champions a chance to progress to the last 16 after two group matches.

Beaumelle revealed he remains stunned by what happened as his side failed to register a second straight group win.

"Our dressing room remained silent, heads are low, we just gave two points, as a gift," Beaumelle told CafOnline during his post-match address.

"What can be done in terms of organization for this second goal, I still do not understand, what happened, I continue to search, it is also the charm of the Africa Cup of Nations. 

"On the other hand, we must continue to work to improve our efficiency with 18 chances, it was enough to score the 30 percent to take cover."

Pepe, who was voted the man of the match, said they have to ensure a good performance against defending champions Algeria during their last Group E engagement.

''It's good to have had this [Man of the match award] but I would have preferred to have the three points of victory to ensure our qualification in the second round this evening," Pepe said.

"Now we have to go and keep working to make a big game against a big team from Algeria. We have to put out a big performance because the objective is to finish first in the group."

On his part, Sierra Leone tactician John Keister revealed his satisfaction in how they have fared against tough group opponents but need to stay focussed to try qualify for the knockout stages.

"Honestly, I wouldn't have believed it if someone had told me that we would have two points against these great teams of Algeria and Ivory Coast," Keister said.

"Now we have managed to do it, we must continue to work to succeed in our participation in this competition 25 years later. It is not a question of changing our objective along the way. 

"Above all, we have a great match to deliver against Equatorial Guinea, after that, we will advise, the work must continue especially at the level of the defensive organization. We conceded far too many chances this evening [Sunday evening], unlike in our match against Algeria."

Ivory Coast and Algeria will meet in the crunch game on January 20.