Cheick Tiote

By Anthony Marshall - Newcastle United Managing Editor


Cheick Tiote played a key role as Ivory Coast came from behind to secure a 2-1 victory over Japan in their opening game of the World Cup.

Playing in Recife in the early hours of Sunday morning, the Elephants found themselves a goal down after just 16 minutes of the Group C fixture when AC Milan midfielder Keisuke Honda fired a brilliant strike into the top corner.

Japan were still leading at the hour mark but two goals in as many minutes turned the game on its head and handed Ivory Coast all three points.

First, Swansea striker Wilfried Bony glanced in a Serge Aurier cross, before ex-Arsenal man Gervinho also nodded home from Aurier's delivery.

Tiote, wearing the number nine shirt as he always does for his nation, played the full 90 minutes in the centre of midfield, and will be looking for more of the same on Thursday when Ivory Coast face Colombia (5pm kick-off).