Ivory Coast hopeful of Sebastien Haller return at AFCON

Ivory Coast hopeful of Sebastien Haller return at AFCON

Ivory Coast coach Jean-Louis Gasset admits his side are weaker without Sebastien Haller leading their attack.

The Borussia Dortmund striker missed both the Africa Cup of Nations hosts' opening day 2-0 win over Guinea-Bissau as well as the 1-0 defeat to Nigeria last time out with an ankle injury.

Their final Group A clash is against Equatorial Guinea on Monday and Gasset is hopeful that Haller will be available for selection.

The Elephants are currently in third place with three points, a point behind both leaders Equatorial Guinea and Nigeria in second place.

Gasset said in the Sowetan: "The medical team has been working day and night to get him ready.

"His ankle is healed but it's the physical work that remains to get him fit.

"I sincerely hope Sebastien will be able to participate in the third match with us."

Reflecting on the loss to Nigeria, the coach added: "It was a very physical match. Nigeria chose to defend very low with a five-man defence. They slowed us down by refusing to play.

"We had to be patient, we had to be defensive, we had to try to get past them on the wing.

"We didn't feel like we could compete physically. We had opportunities when we got the ball into their box, but it was the big Nigerians who inevitably cleared the ball.

"In the end it was a small detail that made the difference and gave them a penalty."

READ MORE: AFCON: Gelson Dala leads Angola to thrilling victory over Mauritania