Gervinho, Siaka Chico Tiene and Didier Drogba were on target as tournament favourites Ivory Coast secured their first victory of the African Nations Cup with a 3-1 win over Ghana in Cabinda.
Gervinho finished off a fluid counter-attacking move after 23 minutes to give Ivory Coast the lead, but they were reduced to 10 men after 55 minutes when Emmanuel Eboue was shown a straight red card for a reckless two-footed tackle.
Matthew Amoah struck a post as Ghana came close to an equaliser before Tiene netted a stunning left-footed free-kick after 66 minutes and Didier Drogba headed in a 90th-minute third.
Asamoah Gyan converted a penalty with the last kick of the game, but it was not enough to prevent the Elephants from progressing to the quarter-finals.
Ghana must beat Burkina Faso next Tuesday to join Ivory Coast in the last eight.
The Black Stars were playing in their first game of the contest after their scheduled opening fixture did not take place following Togo's withdrawal from the competition in the wake of last week's terrorist attack on the team bus.
And they looked lethargic throughout and were cut apart as Ivory Coast turned defence into attack to take the lead.
The Elephants successfully defended a corner and burst forward at pace.
Yaya Toure threaded the ball through to Salomon Kalou on the right and the Chelsea forward centred for Gervinho to tap in.
A fantastic effort from Kwadwo Asamoah almost brought Ghana level.
He received the ball with his back to goal 20 yards out, but turned and unleashed a fierce left-footed shot which appeared destined for the top corner until Barry Boubacar Copa palmed the ball clear.
Michael Essien, who began the match on the bench after recent hamstring struggle, was introduced at half-time and Ghana's chances increased when Eboue was dismissed for a senseless two-footed lunge on Agyemang Opoku, who was deep in his own half.
Ghana immediately went on the attack and Amoah pounced on a loose ball just inside the penalty area, striking a left-foot volley which hit the base of the post.
But Ivory Coast soon doubled their lead when Tiene hit a free-kick from wide on the right which curled into the top corner.
Drogba headed in a third at the back post after persistent play and a pin-point cross from substitute Abdulkader Keita, before a soft penalty was awarded in stoppage time and Gyan sent Boubacar Copa the wrong way.