First goal for Zaha as Ivorians crush Uganda

Wilfried Zaha scored his first goal for African champion the Ivory Coast as it trounced Uganda 3-0 Wednesday in a warm-up match for the 2017 Cup of Nations.

The Crystal Palace and former England winger struck with a low shot after a superb solo run during the second half in Abu Dhabi.   -  REUTERS

Wilfried Zaha scored his first goal for African champion the Ivory Coast as it trounced Uganda 3-0 Wednesday in a warm-up match for the 2017 Cup of Nations.

The Crystal Palace and former England winger struck with a low shot after a superb solo run during the second half in Abu Dhabi.

Abidjan-born Zaha changed his international allegiance after making two friendly appearances for adopted homeland England.

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Footballers who have not played a competitive match for a country are entitled to switch loyalties.

The 24-year-old flier has impressed in two outings for the Cup of Nations title-holder, creating the winner against Sweden during his debut three days ago.

Striker Jonathan Kodjia from English second-tier outfit Aston Villa and Paris Saint-Germain full-back Serge Aurier were the other Ivorian scorers after a goalless first half.

Ivory Coast hopes to become only the fourth country after Egypt, Ghana and Cameroon to successfully defend the African title when the 2017 tournament kicks off this Saturday in Gabon.

They are in Group C — arguably the toughest of the four mini-leagues — with the Democratic Republic of Congo, Morocco and Togo.

After qualifying for a first appearance at the finals since finishing 1978 runner-up, Uganda tackles record seven-time champion Egypt, Ghana and Mali in Group D.

Togo, which has not scheduled any friendly internationals, came from two goals behind to defeat top-flight club Diambars 3-2 in Senegal with Alaixys Romao snatching the winner.

Ghana, beaten on penalties by the Ivory Coast in the 2015 Africa Cup final, has also opted for a club opponent and overcame Bunyodkor of Uzbekistan 2-0 in the UAE.

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