After conceding a first-half goal, Ivory Coast bounced back in the second half to defeat Japan in Group C of the 2014 World Cup in Recife, 2-1.
Japan got on the board in the 16th minute when Inter Milan defender Yuto Nagatomo found AC Milan forward Keisuke Honda, who drilled a left-footed strike out of the reach of goalkeeper Boubacar Barry from inside the edge of the penalty box.
But Ivory Coast would apply the pressure for the rest of the match. After several lost chances, particularly off set pieces, Ivory Coast would finally score in the second half.
Swansea City striker Wilfried Bony would level the match in the 64th minute. Off a fantastic cross from Toulouse wingback Serge Aurier, Bony headed the ball beyond a helpless Eiji Kawashima.
Former Arsenal left wing Gervinho would put Ivory Coast ahead two minutes later. Again, it was Aurier who delivered a fine cross from the right side, but this time, the ball went to the near post off a header.
The match appeared to have shifted when Ivory Coast legend and former Chelsea star Didier Drogba entered the match in the 62nd minute. The squad showed more confidence with their shots on goal with the 36-year-old on the pitch.
"When Didier Drogba came on the pitch everything changed," Ivory Coast head coach Sabri Lamouchi told reporters. "When you have this caliber of player on the pitch you are very lucky.
"Of course, he was frustrated to be on the bench but if you saw the joy when he finished the match... he is a champion."
Ivory Coast took 20 shots with 10 on goal, while Japan managed just seven shots with four on target.
Up next for Ivory Coast is a match with Colombia on on June 19 in Brasilia, while Japan will meet Greece in Natal.