Arsenal flop Gervinho inspires the Ivory Coast to brink of World Cup

Clyne Tackles Gervinho

Former Arsenal flop Gervinho was the undisputed man-of-the-match as the Ivory Coast beat Senegal 3-0.

Earlier in the week we brought you the news that in Rome, where £10.8 million Arsenal flop Gervinho is now plying his trade, they had referred to the Ivorian forward as ‘the African Messi’.

Because since joining his former manager at Lille, Rudi Garcia, in the Italian capital he has been revitalised.

Arsenal took a hit on his transfer fee, because he was simply not working in North London - and there is no doubt that the move to Italy has lit the flame on his talent, talent that has just given his nation one foot in the World Cup of 2014.

The Ivory Coast took on Senegal in a massive World Cup qualifying play-off, with the winner making it all the way to Brazil next summer.

LIVE Premier League match alerts to your phone - goals, red cards, half and full time scores

And the first-leg has gone The Elephants way - with Gervinho the undisputed star of the show.

First of all, the flying forward, was taken down in the area and the Mauritian referee pointed to the spot.

Didier Drogba, the former Chelsea striker, duly applied the finish beyond Bouna Coundoul in the Senegal goal.

Next up was the second Ivorian goal, which will go to the dubious goals panel. But credit is still due for Gervinho. He flew down the left-wing, once again leaving Lamine Gassama trailing in his wake. He then tried to strike the ball into the far corner on the outside of his right boot, before a heavy deflection off of Ludovic Sane diverted the ball beyond the helpless Senegal keeper...

At the moment the goal has been credited as an own-goal … but Gervinho deserves the credit.

But the Ivory Coast and Gervinho were not done yet.

Gervinho this time turned provider. He slid the ball through into the path of another former Chelsea player, Salomon Kalou, who coolly slotted the ball away for 3-0 - leaving Senegal needing a miracle to other turn the deficit...

Gervinho came off for Max Gradel in the 89th minute, to a hero’s departure in Abidjan - as his magnificent season continues.

image: © ronnie macdonald

Register for ARSENAL team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch