24 January 2013

Togo/Cote d'Ivoire: Gervinho Flicks in a Winner in Côte d'Ivoire-Togo Match

Five things we learned from day four at the Africa Cup of Nations.

You don't need your talisman on the pitch to win the game. Côte d'Ivoire were drawing 1-1 with Togo when coach Sabri Lamouchi substituted Captain Fantastic Didier Drogba with 17 minutes to go. Up popped Gervinho to flick in the winner three minutes from time.

If you want to see winning goals, watch a game from the 80 minutes onwards. In the eight games so far only three teams have won. The three decisive strikes have come within the final 10. Seydou Keita's goal for Mali against Niger arrived after 84 minutes; Gervinho struck after 87 minutes for Côte d'Ivoire and Tunisia's Youssef M'Sakni swept home in the first minute of second half stoppage time.

Don't kick the ball too hard. With the score at 0-0 after 70-odd minutes, Algeria's Adlène Guedioura surged forward and hit an almighty thunderbolt of a shot that screamed just over the Tunisia goal. Sadly the strike seemed to sap all his energy. He was limping around thereafter and had to be replaced six minutes from time.

Life in France has turned Salomon Armand Magloire Kalou all Latin. The former Chelsea forward always wore Kalou on his back during his days for the Blues at the Stamford Bridge outfit. But he moved to Lille back in the summer and when he trudged on as a second half substitute for Côte d'Ivoire, plastered over his back was the moniker Kalunho. Sadly he didn't play like a Brazilian. Gervais Kouassi Yao, aka Gervinho, did, though.

Derbies ain't what they used to be. With west African and north African showdowns on offer in Group D, one would have expected a flurry of red cards and gnarling gaits. But it was all mighty neighbourly. Not too many grotesque challenges. Kolo Touré did have the occasional nibble of Emmanuel Adebayor and the Togo captain was positively jiggly with his niggles in return. Bless. Rustenburg is a long way away from their training ground bust-up in Manchester when Adebayor was a City player.

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