Ivory Coast scored two goals in as many minutes to come from behind and get their World Cup campaign off to a winning start with victory over Japan.

The Elephants trailed to a stunning Keisuke Honda strike in the first half.

But the introduction of Didier Drogba as a substitute inspired the comeback, with Wilfried Bony equalising after meeting Serge Aurier's cross.

Aurier also provided the cross for former Arsenal forward Gervinho to head home the winner.

"What a comeback by Ivory Coast. Head coach Sabri Lamouchi's decision to keep Wilfried Bony on when he introduced substitute Didier Drogba looks inspired."

The victory at Recife's Arena Pernambuco moved Ivory Coast level on three points at the top of Group C with Colombia, who beat Greece 3-0.

Ivory Coast, appearing in their third World Cup, have never gone past the group stage but will fancy their chances after a spirited performance.

However, it all looked to be going wrong for manager Sabri Lamouchi, who surprisingly left out former Chelsea striker Drogba and saw his side fall behind.

Asian champions Japan - the first team to qualify for the World Cup - were sharp and nimble in possession and took the lead with a goal of real quality from Honda on 16 minutes.

The AC Milan midfielder collected a pass across the box, took one touch and then drove home powerfully into the top corner with his left foot.

Gervinho (left) celebrates scoring with Didier Drogba as Ivory Coast came from behind to beat Japan at the World Cup

Gervinho failed to score during Ivory Coast's World Cup qualifying campaign

Ivory Coast had their moments, with midfielder Yaya Toure showing occasional glimpses of his destructive power, while Bony was guilty of wasting several chances.

But shortly after Drogba's introduction, the Swansea strike equalised, leaping to glance a fizzing Aurier cross into the far corner.

Two minutes later, another drilled Aurier centre was met by Gervinho and his header squirmed past Japan goalkeeper Eiji Kawashima.

Drogba twice went close to finding the net in the closing stages as Lamouchi's side finished strongly to leave Japan with an uphill battle to stay in the tournament.

Ivory Coast coach Sabri Lamouchi:

"The players are very happy with the victory but we are far from being qualified.

"We did not start very well in the game, conceding the first goal from a careless mistake, then we created many good chances.

"Having a player like Didier Drogba in the team, or among the substitutes, changes a game."

Japan boss Alberto Zaccheroni:

"We have to give credit to the Ivory Coast - they had a great game.

"We did not put them under enough pressure. We were not aggressive enough. We could not play as we normally do, especially in the second half after conceding the two goals.

"We have to do better in order to reach the knockout round, because today we did not do enough."

Lineup, Bookings (4) & Substitutions (6)

Ivory Coast

  • 01 Barry
  • 17 Aurier
  • 03 Boka (Djakpa - 75' )
  • 20 Gonzaroua Die (Drogba - 62' )
  • 05 Zokora Booked
  • 22 Bamba Booked
  • 08 Kalou
  • 09 Tioté
  • 12 Bony (Ya Konan - 78' )
  • 19 Y Touré
  • 10 Gervinho

Substitutes

  • 02 Diarrassouba
  • 04 K Touré
  • 06 Bolly
  • 07 Akpa-Akpro
  • 11 Drogba
  • 13 Ya Konan
  • 14 Diomande
  • 15 Gradel
  • 16 Gbohouo
  • 18 Djakpa
  • 21 Sio
  • 23 Mandé

Japan

  • 01 Kawashima
  • 02 Uchida
  • 05 Nagatomo
  • 17 Hasebe (Endo - 54' )
  • 06 Morishige Booked
  • 22 Yoshida Booked
  • 09 Okazaki
  • 16 Yamaguchi
  • 18 Osako (Okubo - 67' )
  • 04 Honda
  • 10 Kagawa (Kakitani - 86' )

Substitutes

  • 03 Sakai
  • 07 Endo
  • 08 Kiyotake
  • 11 Kakitani
  • 12 Nishikawa
  • 13 Okubo
  • 14 Aoyama
  • 15 Konno
  • 19 Inoha
  • 20 Saito
  • 21 Sakai
  • 23 Gonda
Ref: Enrique Osses
Att: 40,267

Match Stats

Shots

21 7

On target

5 2

Corners

8 5

Fouls

12 13

Live Text Commentary

Full time

Full Time Match ends, Côte d'Ivoire 2, Japan 1.

90:00 +5:48 Full time

Full Time Second Half ends, Côte d'Ivoire 2, Japan 1.

90:00 +5:30

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

90:00 +5:14

Delay in match Didier Ya Konan (Côte d'Ivoire) because of an injury.

90:00 +2:33

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

90:00 +2:15

Delay in match Didier Ya Konan (Côte d'Ivoire) because of an injury.

90:00 +1:10

Hand ball by Didier Drogba (Côte d'Ivoire).

90:00 +0:06

Corner, Côte d'Ivoire. Conceded by Masato Morishige.

89:43

Corner, Côte d'Ivoire. Conceded by Masato Morishige.

88:44

Corner, Côte d'Ivoire. Conceded by Eiji Kawashima.

87:31

Didier Ya Konan (Côte d'Ivoire) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

87:31

Foul by Yasuhito Endo (Japan).

85:48

Corner, Japan. Conceded by Serge Aurier.

85:31 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Japan. Yoichiro Kakitani replaces Shinji Kagawa.

85:10

Offside, Côte d'Ivoire. Didier Zokora tries a through ball, but Gervinho is caught offside.

84:19

Corner, Côte d'Ivoire. Conceded by Masato Morishige.

84:17

Attempt blocked. Didier Drogba (Côte d'Ivoire) left footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Salomon Kalou.

83:18

Gervinho (Côte d'Ivoire) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

83:18

Foul by Yuto Nagatomo (Japan).

81:37

Foul by Didier Drogba (Côte d'Ivoire).

81:37

Masato Morishige (Japan) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

81:03

Corner, Côte d'Ivoire. Conceded by Eiji Kawashima.

81:01

Attempt saved. Didier Drogba (Côte d'Ivoire) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the top right corner.

80:02

Didier Drogba (Côte d'Ivoire) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

80:02

Foul by Masato Morishige (Japan).

79:40

Attempt blocked. Yuto Nagatomo (Japan) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Keisuke Honda.

77:12 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Côte d'Ivoire. Didier Ya Konan replaces Wilfried Bony.

76:31

Attempt missed. Yaya Touré (Côte d'Ivoire) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the left.

74:09 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Côte d'Ivoire. Constant Djakpa replaces Arthur Boka because of an injury.

72:18

Offside, Japan. Maya Yoshida tries a through ball, but Atsuto Uchida is caught offside.

71:28

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

70:26

Delay in match Arthur Boka (Côte d'Ivoire) because of an injury.

68:02

Foul by Salomon Kalou (Côte d'Ivoire).

68:02

Atsuto Uchida (Japan) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

67:09

Attempt missed. Keisuke Honda (Japan) left footed shot from outside the box misses to the left. Assisted by Atsuto Uchida with a cross.

66:40 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Japan. Yoshito Okubo replaces Yuya Osako.

65:27 Goal scored

Goal! Goal! Côte d'Ivoire 2, Japan 1. Gervinho (Côte d'Ivoire) header from the centre of the box to the bottom right corner. Assisted by Serge Aurier with a cross.

64:53

Cheick Tioté (Côte d'Ivoire) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

64:53

Foul by Shinji Okazaki (Japan).

63:48 Goal scored

Goal! Goal! Côte d'Ivoire 1, Japan 1. Wilfried Bony (Côte d'Ivoire) header from the centre of the box to the bottom left corner. Assisted by Serge Aurier with a cross.

63:05 Booking

Booking Masato Morishige (Japan) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

62:59

Didier Drogba (Côte d'Ivoire) wins a free kick on the left wing.

62:59

Foul by Masato Morishige (Japan).

61:25 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Côte d'Ivoire. Didier Drogba replaces Serey Die.

60:12

Yaya Touré (Côte d'Ivoire) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

60:12

Foul by Hotaru Yamaguchi (Japan).

59:02

Attempt missed. Salomon Kalou (Côte d'Ivoire) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the left. Assisted by Arthur Boka.

58:10

Serge Aurier (Côte d'Ivoire) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

58:10

Foul by Shinji Kagawa (Japan).

57:34

Attempt missed. Gervinho (Côte d'Ivoire) with an attempt from the centre of the box misses to the left. Assisted by Serge Aurier with a cross.

57:18 Booking

Booking Didier Zokora (Côte d'Ivoire) is shown the yellow card.

56:14

Yaya Touré (Côte d'Ivoire) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

56:14

Foul by Yasuhito Endo (Japan).

54:25

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

54:13

Delay in match Arthur Boka (Côte d'Ivoire) because of an injury.

53:44 Booking

Booking Souleymane Bamba (Côte d'Ivoire) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

53:37

Foul by Souleymane Bamba (Côte d'Ivoire).

53:37

Shinji Okazaki (Japan) wins a free kick on the right wing.

53:30

Foul by Cheick Tioté (Côte d'Ivoire).

53:30

Keisuke Honda (Japan) wins a free kick on the right wing.

53:08 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Japan. Yasuhito Endo replaces Makoto Hasebe.

52:31

Offside, Côte d'Ivoire. Boubacar Barry tries a through ball, but Wilfried Bony is caught offside.

50:22

Attempt missed. Hotaru Yamaguchi (Japan) right footed shot from outside the box is too high.

49:39

Attempt missed. Makoto Hasebe (Japan) right footed shot from the left side of the box is close, but misses to the left. Assisted by Keisuke Honda with a headed pass.

48:54

Foul by Salomon Kalou (Côte d'Ivoire).

48:54

Makoto Hasebe (Japan) wins a free kick on the left wing.

47:15

Attempt missed. Wilfried Bony (Côte d'Ivoire) right footed shot from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the right.

47:13

Attempt blocked. Serge Aurier (Côte d'Ivoire) right footed shot from the right side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Yaya Touré.

46:25

Serey Die (Côte d'Ivoire) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

46:25

Foul by Shinji Kagawa (Japan).

45:00

Second Half begins Côte d'Ivoire 0, Japan 1.

45:00 +0:57 Half time

Half Time First Half ends, Côte d'Ivoire 0, Japan 1.

44:19

Attempt saved. Arthur Boka (Côte d'Ivoire) left footed shot from a difficult angle and long range on the left is saved in the bottom right corner.

43:50

Attempt blocked. Salomon Kalou (Côte d'Ivoire) right footed shot from the right side of the six yard box is blocked. Assisted by Yaya Touré with a cross.

42:16

Attempt missed. Salomon Kalou (Côte d'Ivoire) header from the centre of the box is high and wide to the left. Assisted by Arthur Boka with a cross.

41:13

Foul by Salomon Kalou (Côte d'Ivoire).

41:13

Atsuto Uchida (Japan) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

39:46

Foul by Serge Aurier (Côte d'Ivoire).

39:46

Shinji Kagawa (Japan) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

38:57

Foul by Serge Aurier (Côte d'Ivoire).

38:57

Yuya Osako (Japan) wins a free kick on the left wing.

38:22

Attempt missed. Wilfried Bony (Côte d'Ivoire) right footed shot from the centre of the box is too high. Assisted by Serey Die with a cross.

38:09

Attempt blocked. Gervinho (Côte d'Ivoire) right footed shot from the left side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Yaya Touré.

35:20

Corner, Japan. Conceded by Souleymane Bamba.

35:18

Attempt blocked. Keisuke Honda (Japan) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Shinji Kagawa.

34:28

Offside, Côte d'Ivoire. Arthur Boka tries a through ball, but Wilfried Bony is caught offside.

34:27

Attempt saved. Arthur Boka (Côte d'Ivoire) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom right corner.

33:42

Corner, Côte d'Ivoire. Conceded by Maya Yoshida.

33:41

Attempt blocked. Gervinho (Côte d'Ivoire) right footed shot from the right side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Wilfried Bony.

30:21

Attempt missed. Arthur Boka (Côte d'Ivoire) left footed shot from outside the box is just a bit too high from a direct free kick.

29:26

Gervinho (Côte d'Ivoire) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

29:26

Foul by Shinji Okazaki (Japan).

26:55

Attempt missed. Salomon Kalou (Côte d'Ivoire) right footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the right. Assisted by Yaya Touré.

23:18

Attempt missed. Yaya Touré (Côte d'Ivoire) right footed shot from outside the box is too high from a direct free kick.

22:19 Booking

Booking Maya Yoshida (Japan) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

21:55

Serey Die (Côte d'Ivoire) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

21:55

Foul by Maya Yoshida (Japan).

20:03

Corner, Japan. Conceded by Cheick Tioté.

20:00

Attempt saved. Atsuto Uchida (Japan) left footed shot from the right side of the box is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Keisuke Honda.

19:10

Gervinho (Côte d'Ivoire) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

19:10

Foul by Yuto Nagatomo (Japan).

18:02

Foul by Wilfried Bony (Côte d'Ivoire).

18:02

Atsuto Uchida (Japan) wins a free kick on the right wing.

16:40

Arthur Boka (Côte d'Ivoire) wins a free kick on the left wing.

16:40

Foul by Shinji Okazaki (Japan).

15:33 Goal scored

Goal! Goal! Côte d'Ivoire 0, Japan 1. Keisuke Honda (Japan) left footed shot from the left side of the box to the top left corner. Assisted by Yuto Nagatomo.

14:29

Corner, Japan. Conceded by Serge Aurier.

13:29

Foul by Cheick Tioté (Côte d'Ivoire).

13:29

Shinji Okazaki (Japan) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

6:34

Attempt blocked. Gervinho (Côte d'Ivoire) right footed shot from a difficult angle on the right is blocked. Assisted by Salomon Kalou.

5:35

Corner, Côte d'Ivoire. Conceded by Masato Morishige.

5:33

Attempt blocked. Wilfried Bony (Côte d'Ivoire) right footed shot from the right side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Gervinho.

2:46

Corner, Côte d'Ivoire. Conceded by Shinji Okazaki.

0:41

Corner, Japan. Conceded by Serge Aurier.

0:08

Hand ball by Wilfried Bony (Côte d'Ivoire).

0:00

First Half begins.

0:00

Lineups are announced and players are warming up.

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