Nicolas Pepe scored a flick from close range for Ivory Coast in his first game of the international break, assisted by Wilfried Zaha.
Since signing for Arsenal in a club-record deal over the summer, Pepe has scored once and assisted three goals for the club. The concern is that he’s yet to find the net from open play, despite featuring in plenty of matches recently.
As a result, it’s encouraging to see Pepe scoring for his country over the international break. Starting in a friendly against DR Congo, the Arsenal winger scored just before half-time to make it 2-0.
Wilfried Zaha was heavily involved, picking up a Pepe through ball over the top before dribbling past a couple of opponents and cutting back for the finish. The ball was slightly behind Pepe, so he had to flick it between his legs, which he did neatly.
Pepe also created a great chance for Zaha a few minutes earlier. He picked the ball up on the left and cut it back to find his teammate in the box, but the Crystal Palace man saw his shot blocked by a diving defender.
Ivory Coast technically have another fixture before the end of the international break, but it’s part of the qualification for the 2020 African Nations Championship.
Unlike the Africa Cup of Nations, the African Nations Championship only allows players who play in their country’s domestic league to feature. As a result, Pepe is ineligible and can return to Arsenal.