2013 Africa Cup of Nations Finals – Wednesday 23 January 2013
Group D: Royal Bafokeng Stadium, Rustenburg
Ivory Coast (1) 2 – 1 (1) Togo
The tournament favourites Ivory Coast got off to a winning start, but left it very late to clinch it. However, it was a nervy start from The Elephants, who could have gone behind after two minutes. Kolo Toure made a hash of a back pass allowing Emmanuel Adebayor in on goal; however, goalkeeper Boubacar Barry did enough to tip the ball away from the Togo forward. On eight minutes Ivory Coast went ahead, after Gervinho did well to get down the wing and cut the ball back, where Yaya Toure fired in a shot. It found the net after taking a deflection from the despairing lounges of the Togo defence. The Elephants continued to dominate with Max Gradel and Gervinho causing problems as the game move to the half hour mark. However, gradually Togo came into the game in the closing fifteen minutes, but nearly conceded a second on forty four minutes when a Yaya Toure shot cannoned off the post. Togo made The Elephants pay when in time added-on a scuffed corner from Serge Gakpa was clipped in by Jonathan Ayite. Into the second-half and Togo looked to frustrate the Ivory Coast, as both sides shuffled their pack in search of a winner with the subdued Didier Drogba replaced on seventy four minutes. In the end it took an error to provide the next goal, when on eighty eight minutes a free-kick by Yaya Toure was misjudged by Togo keeper Kossi Agassa leaving Gervinho to fire into an empty net. However, Togo so nearly grabbed an equaliser in time added-on, but Boubacar Barry saved brilliantly from Floyd Ayite’s diving header. Three points for the tournament favourites, but they were made to work for them.
Tunisia (0) 1 – 0 (0) Algeria
There was very little good or memorable about this game and just as it looked like the 2013 competition had another 0-0 on its hands a moment of pure class settled this game. As the ninety minutes were up, the crowd saw they had four minutes of time added-on to endure. In the first minute of the four, Youssef Msakni collected the ball outside the box on the left hand side and then cut inside toward the centre of the pitch; he then unleashed a perfect curler into the top corner out of the reach of Algerian keeper M’Bolhi. The goal of the tournament so far and the first upset of the competition as well.
Group A: Moses Mabhida Stadium, Durban
South Africa v Angola/Morocco v Cape Verde
With both opening fixtures of Group A finishing 0-0, everyone is on the same footing as the second round of games commences. South Africa as hosts were unable to provide the country with the win they wanted against Cape Verde and Angola will look to capitalise on the pressure the Bafana Bafana will be under. Angola to nick this one and cause despair in Durban. Morocco will find Cape Verde are an organised outfit, but should come through if they can turn the possession they had against Angola into chances.