Namibia 1-4 Ivory Coast: Arsenal target Wilfried Zaha scores on first start at Africa Cup of Nations

Arsenal transfer target Wilfried Zaha scored on his first start at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations

Arsenal transfer target Wilfried Zaha scored as Ivory Coast moved into the last 16 of the Africa Cup of Nations with a thumping win over Namibia.

Max Gradel’s volley and Ryan Nyambe’s own goal gave the Elephants a 2-0 lead before Joslin Kamatuka pulled a goal back for Namibia.

But Zaha added a third with a right-foot shot after cutting in off the left before Maxwel Cornet’s placed fourth.

Ivory Coast finish second behind Morocco in Group D.

After two failed penalty appeals and scuffing a close-range shot into the arms of Namibia goalkeeper Lloyd Kazapua, Zaha, 26, had cut a frustrated figure.

But the Crystal Palace winger made amends with a trademark strike on his first start at the tournament to take the game away from the Brave Warriors.

Namibia, who had lost narrowly in both their previous group matches, had started brightly but were punished by Peter Shalulile’s failure to score from two glorious first-half chances with the score at 0-0.

They finish bottom of the group three points behind South Africa who lost to Morocco in the other game.

‘Don’t let the scoreline fool you’ – Analysis

BBC World Service’s John Bennett at the 30 June Stadium

Wilfried Zaha had a frustrating game until a moment the Crystal Palace fans will have seen at Selhurst Park so many times down the years, with him cutting back inside and firing into the net.

Before the game it was interesting to see him have an animated chat with Ivory Coast skipper Serge Aurier. Will they meet in a North London derby next season?

As for the match, don’t let the scoreline fool you, Ivory Coast were far from convincing but in players like Zaha, Pepe and Gradel they have match winners.

Whether they can put together consistent team performances to go all the way here in Egypt is doubtful though.

Meanwhile, Zaha’s Cup of Nations is up and running after a slow start. He may be a bit distracted over the next few days though by that Arsenal interest. It could be a dramatic next three weeks for him on and off the pitch.

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