Ivory Coast came from a goal down at home to beat Mali 3-1 in their opening Group C clash of the 2018 World Cup qualifiers in Bouake on Saturday.

Ivory Coast beat Mali 3-1 to go top of Group C after Gabon and Morocco had earlier drawn 0-0.

A difficult start from the hosts, Mali takes the lead in the 18th-minute goal from Mali’s Sambou Yatabare, who sent a lofted ball over the advancing keeper to put his side ahead.

The holders Ivory Coast reacted with goals from Aston Villa striker Jonathan Kodjia and Mali’s defender Salif Coulibaly scoring own goal to give the Elephants a 2-1 lead.

Former Arsenal winger Gervinho, who plays for Hebei China Fortune, added the third with a superb volley from a tight angle on 34 minutes.

The defending champions are leading their group with three points after Morocco played out a 0-0 draw with Gabon earlier in the day.

Ivory Coast next 2018 qualifying tie is in Morocco in match-day two on 7 November, while Mali will host Gabon.

Results African qualifiers for 2018 World Cup

Friday: Ghana 0-0 Uganda

Saturday’s Results 
Gabon 0-0 Morocco
DR Congo 4-0 Libya
Burkina Faso 1-1 South Africa
Ivory Coast 3-1 Mali
Senegal 2-0 Cape Verde


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