It was a winning start to the Africa Cup of Nations for Nicolas Pepe as Ivory Coast beat Equatorial Guinea in their opening match in Douala.
Our winger was a 71st-minute substitute in the Group E clash, helping his nation hold out to claim all three points after ex-Leeds United man Max Gradel scored the only goal of the game after five minutes.
Ivory Coast stood firm up against late pressure from Equatorial Guinea and could have even put the game to bed in the closing stages, but Pepe saw his first-time strike go over the bar, while Wilfried Zaha also put a big chance wide.
Nico and Ivory Coast will next be in action on Sunday when they face Sierra Leone at 4pm (UK time).
Earlier in the day, Omar Rekik was an unused substitute for Tunisia in their 1-0 defeat to Mali in Group F.
Our academy defender and Tunisia continue their group campaign on Sunday against Mauritania at 4pm (UK time).
Copyright 2022 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source.