Newcastle’s top central midfielder Cheick Tiote helped the Ivory Coast qualify for the final of the African Cup of Nations next January with a 100% record, as they beat Burundi 2-1 yesterday.
Cheick Tiote – Newcastle and Ivory Coast midfield star
The Ivory Coast finished top of Group H, having won all their six games and they finished with a goal difference of +19 to finish a full 12 points above second placed Rwanda.
The Toure brothers, Kolo and Yaya, scored the goals for the home side, as Kolo put his team ahead in the 70th minute, but then Nahimana put home a shock equalizer for Burundi just seven minutes later.
And it took an injury time goal from Yaha Toure, in the very last minute of added time, to mainten the Ivory Coast’s 100% record.
The game was played at the Stade Félix Houphouët-Boigny in Abidjan in front of 35,000 fans.
This means that Newcastle will be without Cheick Tiote in January, when the African Cup of Nations will be played at two host nations, Gabon and Equatorial Guinea, and it could be that the Ivory Coast do very well in the competition.
Demba Ba was part of the Senegal squad, but the Newcastle striker didn’t see any action, in Senegal’s 2-0 away win in Mauritius
Senegal finished top of their Group E, five points clear at the top with 16 points from their 6 games, and they won their group by 5 points from Cameroon.
Demba Ba will also be missing in January, so the loss of two of Newcastle starting eleven will give a chance to some of Newcastle’s other players, and we’re not too worried about that.
Cabaye can be defensive midfield and either Danny Guthrie, Dan Gosling, Mehdi Abeid or Haris Vuckic can play in the attacking central midfield role.
Up front Peter Lovenkrands, either of the Ameobi brothers Shola or Sammy, or even a new striker brought in during early in January can fill in for Demba Ba.