• Main man ... Cote d'Ivoire striker Didier Drogba (left) heads his side back into the game (AAP)
Cote d'Ivoire fought back from two goals down to draw 2-2 with Algeria in an Africa Cup of Nations Group D dead rubber in Rustenburg.
PA Sport

31 Jan 2013 - 7:58 AM  UPDATED 4 Feb 2013 - 2:07 PM

Eliminated Algeria looked set to finish the tournament with an
upset victory over already-qualified Cote d'Ivoire thanks to second-half
goals from substitute Sofiane Feghouli and El Arbi Soudani.

However, Cote d'Ivoire, which might have been 3-0 down with Ryad
Boudebouz missing an early penalty for Algeria, battled back with two
goals in three minutes from Didier Drogba and Wilfried Bony to take a

The result leaves Cote d'Ivoire top of Group D with seven points
and a quarter-final against Nigeria to look forward to, while Algeria
heads home with just one point to its credit.

By far the clearest chance for either side in a close-fought first
half came in the seventh minute when Algeria was awarded a penalty when
Ismael Traore dragged down Soudani after being turned by the Guimaraes
forward on the edge of the box.

It provided Algeria with a perfect opportunity to notch its first
goal since last October but it was spurned by Ryad Boudebouz as his
drilled spot-kick smashed back off the base of the post.

Arguably Cote d'Ivoire's best opening of the first period fell to
Salomon Kalou but the Lille forward blazed high over the bar after
creating space for a shot inside the area.

Drogba came close with a 25-yard free-kick in the 26th minute but
that also failed to trouble Algeria goalkeeper Rais M'Bolhi as the first
half finished goalless.

Algeria should have taken the lead straight after the restart but the
unmarked Essaid Belkalem could only head straight at Daniel Yeboah.

However, Algeria did not have to wait much longer to go ahead after
being awarded a second penalty in the 63rd minute for a handball by
Arthur Boka as he attempted to block a cross.

Feghouli, who just moments before had replaced Boudebouz, took over
the spot-kick duties and clinically fired his effort into the top

It was 2-0 seven minutes later after another cross from the
right, which this time found Soudani eight yards out and he powered home
a header.

That looked to be game over, but last year's tournament runner-up was level within 10 minutes.

Drogba halved the deficit with a fine header from near the penalty
spot in the 77th minute and then Bony levelled the scores up with a
25-yard strike which took a huge deflection before beating the
wrong-footed M'Bolhi.