Ivory Coast fighting to stay in the African Cup of Nations... and still no sign of Sunderland's Lamine Kone

Kone has not played any part in the tournament so far
Kone has not played any part in the tournament so far
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Ivory Coast are still searching for their first African Cup of Nations victory, and will now face a tense final group game to see if they can progress to the knockout rounds.

Sunderland centre-half Lamine Kone was again missing as the holders drew 2-2 with DR Congo.

That followed up a surprise 0-0 draw with Togo in their Group C opener.

Kone has so far played no part in the tournament. Missing for their warm-up games as well, he has not played since picking up an injury during the 4-1 defeat to Burnley at Turf Moor on New Year's Eve.

The 27-year-old, who signed a contract extension at the start of the season, has been linked with moves to Everton and Crystal Palace this month. His current deal runs until 2021 and he is one of the club's prize assets.

His national side went behind in the early stages when Fulham winger Neeskens Kebano opened the scoring. It took equalisers from Wilfied Bony and Serey Die to level the scores, after Junior Kabanaga made it 2-1 to DR Congo just before half-time.

Ivory Coast ended the game by far the stronger side, with Salomon Kalou having a goal ruled out for offside in stoppage time. But they are now in a precarious position with just one game to play.

Morocco play Togo on Friday night, with Morroco Kone's final opponents.

They are managed by Herve Renard, who managed Ivory Coast to triumph in 2015. He was also at the helm for Zambia's famous victory in the 2012 tournament.

Ivory Coast were expected to advance to the late stages of the tournament, meaning Kone and Crystal Palace's Wilfried Zaha would miss a crucial relegation clash on February 4th.