Ivory Coast and Togo play to goalless Afcon 2017 group stage draw
Posted: 16 January 2017 Time: 19:56
Defending African Cup of Nations champions Ivory Coast began the defense of their continental title with a tame 0-0 draw against Togo in a somewhat disappointing Group C opener on Monday evening.
The match started at a slow pace, Ivory Coast enjoying more of the ball yet failing to truly test the Togo backline.
It was Togo who would create the first opening of the match however, as Ihlas Bebou raced past the Ivorian defence, crossing in a ball for the onrushing Mathieu Dossevi to head home, only for goalkeeper Sylvain Gbohouo to intercept and clear away the danger.
Crystal Palace forward Wilfried Zaha, playing in his first competitive match for the Elephants after giving up English nationality, looked lively for the defending champions, yet could not find a way through the resolute Togolese defence.
The first half ended with desperate pleas from the Togolese players for a penalty after Adama Traore looked to have handled in the box, yet the referee waved away any protests.
The Ivorians should have been a goal to the good in the early stages of the second half following Serge Aurier's delightful cross into the box, yet an unmarked Jonmathan Kodja missed the header completely with any touch resulting in an almost probable goal.
Zaha’s fine run minutes later resulted in a blocked shot as Dossevi got in the way, that being the Palace striker’s last meaningful contribution as he made way for namesake Wilfried Bony.
Togo then came close as Kodjo Laba almost connected with a telling cross only to miss-time his run, before Emmanuel Adebayor had his goal-bound strike blocked, winning a fruitless corner as a reward.
With chances at both ends not taken, both teams had to settle for a point in what many may feel was a less-than-impressive showing by the defending champions, who take on DR Congo in their next encounter on Friday.