Overwhelming favourites Ivory Coast left it late to beat Togo 2-1 in their opening Africa Cup of Nations South Africa 2013 match played on Tuesday.
Arsenal striker Gervinho (below)scored a late volley to give the Elephants victory in the first Group D game. Yaya Toure put the Ivorians ahead with a deflected shot from 12 yards and he almost doubled his side's lead when his fierce drive hit the post moments before Togo equalised.
But Togo, led by the returning captain Emmanuel Adebayor, fought back to restore parity just before half-time thanks to Jonathan Ayite, who swept in a corner.
However, just when the Togolese thought they had snatched at least a point off the tournament favourites, Gervinho met Yaya Toure's well-taken free-kick at the far post to clinch the win. After Yaya's opening goal on the 8th minute and Ayite's equaliser on the stroke of half time, there literally nothing to choose between the teams, who seemed too happy to simply cancel each other out-and at times, it looked boring on the eye.
Ivory Coast, looking for their first title since 1992, created the better scoring chance without causing much trouble for Togo keeper Agassa, who apart from picking the ball from the back of his net twice, didn't do much in terms of saves. The captain Didier Drogba failed to add to his 10 Africa Cup of Nations goals and it came as no surprise when he was hauled off midway through the second half.
Nonetheless, it was a win the Ivorians just about deserved for showing more resilience and hunger to get off the mark with a win, which puts them top of group D, and also brought only the second win of the tournament after Mali's victory over Niger.
Ivory C 2-1 Togo