Brazil and Côte d’Ivoire shared the spoils in a 3-3 thriller in Guadalajara that saw tournament ace Souleymane Coulibaly notch three more goals and both sides through to the last 16. The South Americans finish Group F in first place and the identity of second and third will only be known tomorrow, when Australia and Denmark replay their game which had to be postponed due to serious weather around the stadium in Queretaro.
Coach Emerson Avila made four changes to his usual starting XI, and his new-look Brazil wasted no time getting on the board. After some opening exchanges that showed the true quality of the two participating teams, the South Americans drew first blood. On a quick break, Sao Paulo partners Ademilson and Lucas Piazon combined to score after only eight minutes. Ademilson fed the ball in well for Lucas Piazon, who made no mistake with his cool finish.
Only three minutes went by before Côte d’Ivoire drew level, and there was no surprise as to the identity of the scorer. Coulibaly, who has all of the Ivorians’ goals so far at these finals, cut inside the area from the left, blowing past Mathes and firing a wicked strike into the side netting.
The end-to-end excitement of the game didn’t let up either and in the 14th minute Brazil were back in the lead again. Ademilson was given too much space on the left side on the box, and he cut inside before firing across the goalkeeper and into the back of the net. The game settled for a time with the score at 2-1, but eventually Coulibaly had his say again. In the 31st minute the rangy forward raced up the middle of the Brazilian defence, collected a fine through ball from Victorien Angban and beat the offside trap. He strolled in all alone and made no mistake to level the score with his seventh goal in three games.
Couibaly did not let up in the second half either, his brilliant bicycle kick from a corner in the 58th minute put the West Africans up 3-2. Hernani and Adryan both had decent chances to draw Brazil level as the second period progressed, but both failed to put their efforts away.
The Ivorian goal hero was withdrawn in the dying moments of the game to a standing ovation from the Guadalajara crowd, and once the talisman was off the pitch, Brazil were able to grab their leveler. Three minutes into stoppage time, Lucas Piazon made a fine run to the end line and pulled the ball across the area, where Adryan controlled well and dispatched a cool finish to even the scores at 3-3 in one of the most memorable games of the tournament.
The result sees Brazil finish top of Group F with the Ivorians through as well. Second and third-place finishers in the section will not be decided until tomorrow, when Denmark and Australia contest a re-play of the final game which had to be suspended and postponed due to serious weather in Queretaro.