Tuesday, January 22, 2013


High praise: Gervinho acknowledged the baying crowd in Rustenburg
Misfiring Arsenal forward Gervinho popped up in the 88th minute to clinch an opening victory for the Ivory Coast over Togo.

Manchester City midfielder, Yaya Toure had put the Ivory Coast a goal up before Jonathan Ayite equalised for Togo on the stroke of half-time. 
However Toure found Gervinho with a freekick in the final moments of the game and the out-of-favour Arsenal striker finished with aplomb to ensure the tournament favourites started with a win. 
Talisman: Yaya Toure (centre) scored within 10 minutes
Togo nearly equalised again in the fourth and final minute of added time, but Floyd Ayite's header from close range drew a great save from Ivorian goalkeeper Boubacar Barry. 

Earlier in the match, defender Dare Nibombe appeared to have scored the second goal for Togo in the 60th minute, however the referee had yet to blow his whistle to allow a corner to be taken.

Led by former Chelsea striker Didier Drogba and several players from European clubs, Ivory Coast struggled to create many chances against a well-organized Togo team, whose scoring opportunities mostly fell to Tottenham striker Emmanuel Adebayor.

The Ivorians, who last won the title in 1992, are trying to come back from a disappointing loss to Zambia in a penalty shootout in last year's final
Premier League stars: Kolo Toure (right), Cheick Tiote (left) and Emmanuel Adebayor (centre) all took part
Yaya’s brother, Kolo, was spared blushed by his former team-mate and Togo captain Emmanuel Adebayor after the City defender’s mistake left the former Arsenal forward ebaring down on Barry’s goal. But Adebayor made the wrong decision, and was unable to successfully round the incoming goalkeeper. 

In the other group D match, Youssef Msakni scored a remarkable goal in stoppage time to give Tunisia a dramatic 1-0 win over Algeria having been outplayed for most of their Group D match at the Africa Cup of Nations on Tuesday. 
Msakni beat a defender outside the area to set up a perfectly-struck, curling shot that found the top-right corner of the goal in the first minute of injury-time. 

Hero: Youssef Msakni scored a stunning 30-yard effort in injury-time to win the game
The result leaves Tunisia level on points with group leader Ivory Coast

Tunisia won their only title in 2004, as the host nation, but they have reached the quarter-finals every time since a runners-up finish in 1996.

Algeria, who won their sole African title in 1990, did not play in last year's tournament but they've brought a revamped team to South Africa and are considered an outside contender for the title.

Under the guidance of experienced Bosnian coach Vahid Halilhodzic, they won eight matches and lost only one heading into the tournament.

They were 19th in FIFA's world rankings in December, the best ever for the nation, and currently ranked 22nd.

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