The Elephants narrowly defeated Equatorial Guinea 1-0 in their Africa Cup of Nations opener, with captain Max Gradel scoring a sensational winner.
Gradel, an ex-Bournemouth and Leeds striker, put the two-time champions ahead after just five minutes with a 20-yard strike with the outside of his right foot.
Equatorial Guinea had chances to draw level, but Iban Salvador sliced his best chance from seven yards terribly wide.
Ivory Coast held out as Badra Ali Sangare was saved from Emilio Nsue.
After defending champions Algeria drew with Sierra Leone on Tuesday, Patrice Beaumelle’s team took command of Group E.