Pretoria — Ivory Coast proved why they are considered the continent's soccer giants when they beat a promising Togo 2-1 in a hotly contested Africa Cup of Nations Cup (Afcon) Group D match on Tuesday night.
The match at Royal Bafokeng Stadium in Rustenberg could have gone either way but the Elephants proved too strong for the Sparrow Hawks.
Yaya Toure banged in Ivory's Coast's first goal in the eighth minute of the game but their victory was sealed by a superb strike from Gervinho two minutes from time. Togo equalised shortly before half time when Jonathan Ayithe's kick in front of the goal beat Ivory Coast goal keeper Boubacar Barry hands down. The Elephants' defence was nowhere to be seen.
Frustration was visible among Ivory Coast fans when Toure nearly registered his second goal in the 75th minute but his powerful shot in front of goal went straight in the hands of Togo's keeper.
Togo were denied a second goal in the 59th minute when Dar, Nibombe headed in a corner kick but the referee ordered a retake.
The Elephants were expected to dominate the game, but by full time both sides had had plenty of chances at either end.
Togo, which are currently ranked 77 on the Fifa table, fought well throughout the 90 minute encounter.
Ivory Coast, which is favoured to clinch the title, is hoping Tuesday's win will signal another step towards putting an end to their decade-long trophy drought.