Paraguay held African giants Côte d'Ivoire to a 1-1 draw in the three-nation Kirin Cup football tournament on Thursday.

Forward Kain Kandia Emile Traore put the Ivorians one up when he hit home a pass from Arsenal defender Emmanuel Eboue in the 73rd minute.

However, substitute forward Cristian Bogado struck home an equaliser just four minutes later to deny victory to the African side, who were playing their first match under new Bosnian coach Vahid Halilhodzic.

Côte d'Ivoire started with all Europe-based players but were lacking several regular players including Chelsea forwards Didier Drogba and Salomon Kalou, who were in Moscow for the UEFA Champions League final against Manchester United.

"I was appointed as the coach only five or six days ago and it was my first game. We have also new players and five or six regular players couldn't come this time," said Halilhodzic.

"Nevertheless we played well. I'm satisfied very much. I changed our strategy after the break and we played better afterwards. It was at that time we lost a goal. But it was a good game," he added.

Although Côte d'Ivoire had better control, Paraguay created a couple of good chances, with midfielder Carlos Paredes hitting the bar in the 40th minute. Midfielder Sergio Aquino also almost found the African goal in the 67th minute only to see a marvelous clearance by Benfica defender Marc Andre Zoro.

Côte d'Ivoire also missed a chance when Marseille midfielder Kanga Akale's header on an Eboue free kick went wide in the 82nd minute.

"Ivory Coast played better in the first 25 minutes with their positioning and ball control. We finally got into our rhythm in the last 15 minutes of the first half," said Paraguay's Argentine coach Gerardo Martino. "I think we played better in the second half. We created several chances. If we had taken them, we could have won the match."

Both teams missed some regular members because of injuries or other commitments. "Our goal is to form a team for the World Cup qualifiers to make a berth in the finals in South Africa. I believe my players will do a tremendous job in South Africa," said Halilhodzic.

Ivory Coast will take on Japan in Toyota on Saturday in the three-nation tournament, vying for the top prize of 100,000 dollars.