Colombia 2-1 Ivory Coast: Colombia go top of Group C in 'group final'
Image: fifa.com

Colombia largened the gap between themselves and the rest of Group C with a 2-1 win over their main challengers, the Ivory Coast, with goals from Rodriguez and Quintero.

Los Cafeteros now lie at the top of Group C, above Ivory Coast by 3 points and Greece and Japan by 6 points. The first half was goalless but James Ordriguez proved vital for Colombia again, and put them in the lead with a brilliant header on the 64th minute mark. He then set up Quintero who scored his first international goal just 6 minutes later. There was some hope for The Elephants when Gervinho pulled one back with 16 minutes to go but Gervinho's stunning effort ended up as just a consolation.

Colombia have secured qualification and now only need one point from their game against Japan to secure top place. Ivory Coast face Greece and need a win to have any chance of topping the group.

Sabri Lamouchi dropped Salamon Kalou for Max Gradel, leaving Kalou on the bench. Despite his subsitution giving the Ivorians the lift they needed to beat Japan in their first World Cup game in Brazil, Didier Drogba was left out of the starting eleven once again, with Wilfired Bony filling in.

Colombia remained unchanged from their 3-0 thrasing over Greece, Jackson Martinez failing to regain a place after Teo Gutierrez played in his role against the Greeks.

A brilliant, fast, flowing first 20 minutes matched up to expectations set by the 'Final of the group' label.

A quick start from both sides saw little key chances being created. Colombia began high up the pitch but no one presented Gutierrez with a goalscoring chance. Juan Cuadrado whipped in a great cross after a fantastic, quick counter attack but it was cleared away for a corner just before it got to it's target.

James Rodriguez further showcased his pure talent with a set of wonderful cross-field balls to Cuadrado on the right hand side.

The potent Colombian attack combined with two brilliant passes to give Teo Gutierrez a beautiful chance to send his side in front but nothing could come of a beautiful interchange between the attack as Gutierrez fluffed it well wide with no Ivorian green shirts around him. Jackson Martinez must have looked on with such dismay.

Ospina was called into action just before the 30 minute mark, Serge Aurier stepped past Colombia's weak defence and swing his shot to the right hand post, but Ospina produced a standard save.

After a tearful start as the Elephants' national anthem bursted out in Brasilia, Serey Die forced a corner of Zapata but Max Gradel put in a poor delivery. Zuniga flicked his header onto Cuadrado who put the ball through Die's legs, only for his work to be completely undone, with Ibarbo sending in a poor cross.

When the first half looked like ending with a bang, Gutierrez was called offside after a brilliant counter attack from an Ivorian corner. Howard Webb's whistle signalled the end to an interesting but not enticing first half.

No side made changes at half time but the tempo of the game quickened and Colombia's stunning attack began to hammer at the Ivorians wall. Cuadrado did a series of stepovers before unleashing a shot only for it to hit the post.

Didier Drogba replaced Wilfried Bony 15 minutes after half time and instantly shouted at his team mates to inspire them to victory. 4 minutes passed with Drogba on the pitch and his team fell behind from a corner.

Cuadrado whipped the ball in to the mix and James Rodriguez rose ahead everyone to rocket the header in. Rodriguez has made everyone so accumstomed to his wonderful left foot, that to see him score such a precise, wonderful header was surprising.

The Ivorians pressed furiosly for an equaliser and brought on Salamon Kalou for Max Gradel but the substiotution came to no avail and Colombia had another within 6 minutes of the first from Rodriguez. '

Colombia's brilliant front 3, behind Teo Gutierrez, worked brilliantly together before Quintero finished a wonderful move off to double Colombia's lead.

Rodriguez showed his class again.

However, four minutes on and Gervinho gave the Ivory Coast a wonderful sense of hope and anticipation. Tim Cahill scored a stunner yesterday against Holland and Gervinho continued the run of unbelievable goals with a solo run that has to be watched 5 times over for you to believe the extent of it's greatness.

Segre Aurier played in a lovely ball after recieving it from Kalou and it was cleared for a corner, which was headed away by Mario Yepes. Colombia hung on to the three points with some solid defending but the Ivorians furiosly poundered the Colombian door.

Aurier and Kalou impressed as the main players during Ivory Coast's last minute plea for the three points but Quintero had something to say about that. The second goal scorer attempted a legendary goal from the half way line but he couldn't trick Barry who just recovered.

Ospina was forced into making a last minute low save from Drogba but Colombia kept the three points and headed to the top of the group.

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