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Yaya Toure central to Ivory Coast triumph

Yaya Toure set up the winner as Ivory Coast triumphed 2-1 over DR Congo in their Africa Cup of Nations Qualifier.

The midfielder was at the centre of the game from the start, and won a penalty after 16 minutes but Swansea striker Wilfried Bony saw his spot kick saved.

Bony atoned for his error by putting the Elephants ahead later in the half, but Toure’s side were pinned back by a Congolese penalty after 66 minutes. Both sides were pushing for a crucial winner and three points to boost qualifying hopes, but it was the Ivory Coast who found the net late on.

A Yaya free kick was parried into the path of Max Gradel, and he made no mistake from close range.

The two sides meet again on Wednesday, with the Elephants holding home advantage this time.

Bacary Sagna also claimed an assist as France saw off Portugal 2-1 in a friendly in Paris. The defender forced an excellent stop with a well-placed shot inside four minutes, but Karim Benzema was on hand to fire home the rebound.

Paul Pogba added a second in the 69th minute, while Portugal grabbed a consolation from the penalty spot after the Juventus man was adjudged to have tripped Joao Mario.

City teammate Eliaquim Mangala also started the fixture alongside Sagna in the French back line and the duo both completed 90 minutes in the French capital on a dominant night for Les Bleus. Blaise Matuidi had a number of chances to extend France’s lead in front of a home crowd confident enough in their side’s control to start some first half Mexican waves.

Mangala partnered Raphael Varane at the heart of the defence and the pair combined to frustrate Cristiano Ronaldo, who unsurprisingly  provided most of Portugal’s attacking threat.

While the result matters little, the pace and fluidity to the French attack will have pleased management and fans alike ahead of the meeting with Armenia on Tuesday.

Sergio Aguero, Martin Demichelis and Pablo Zabaleta were all in action for Argentina but could not prevent La Albiceleste from falling 2-0 to Brazil in a friendly fixture staged in China. Diego Tardelli scored twice while Lionel Messi had a penalty saved for Argentina.

Demichelis and Zabaleta both featured for the full 90 minutes, while Aguero was withdrawn on the hour mark for Gonzalo Higuain.

Former City striker Robinho also made an international return late on for Brazil.

Elsewhere, Aleks Kolarov and Matija Nastasic both clocked up 90 minutes for Serbia in a 1-1 draw away to Armenia.

A late goal from Zoran Tosic rescued a point for Serbia after goalkeeper Stoijkovic had come to the rescue with a second half penalty save for the visitors.

Kolarov spurned two chances to find the net for his country, while Nastasic grew in confidence as the game progressed after struggling for minutes in Manchester.

It was the first match for Serbia in their quest to reach Euro 2016, and they will be hoping to add three points when they take on Albania on Tuesday.

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