26 January 2013

Togo/Algeria: Hawks Knock Out Africa's No. 2 Team

Photo: Sydney Mahlangu/Backpagepix
Rafik Djebbour of Algeria is challenged by Jay Demerit of United States at the World Cup in 2010.

Togo knocked Algeria out of the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations in a 2-0 victory in a Group D clash at the Royal Bafokeng Stadium in Rustenburg on Saturday night.

The result means that Cote d’Ivoire are the first side through to the quarter-finals of the tournament. Earlier in the day they beat Tunisia 3-0.

Algeria came into these finals positioned second on the FIFA World Rankings for Africa, but have been desperately disappointing in their two games, failing to take their chances and ending up with zero points.

A first-half goal from Emmanuel Adebayor and a late strike from Dove Wome were enough to seal the win for Togo to keep well alive their hopes of reaching the knockout stages. Next Wednesday they face a straight shoot-out with Tunisia in their final pool match for a place in the Last 8.

Togo started brightly on Saturday when Adebayor was almost played in on goal in the opening stages, but Algeria goalkeeper Rais Mbolhi moved swiftly off his line to save. At the other end, the excellent Sofiane Feghouli set up Islam Slimani with a sight on goal, but he skewed his shot wide.

Kossi Agassa made a number of fine saves in the Togo goal in the opening period as Algeria poured forward on attack, with Feghouli part of everything good they created.

But it was Togo who took the lead against the run of play when Moustapha Salifou headed the ball into the path of an on-rushing Adebayor, and he made no mistake with a low finish.

Algeria then had two big penalty appeals turned down in the second half.

Both looked decent shouts. The first saw Feghouli clipped by Dakonam Djene in the Togo box. The Algerian made the most of it, but there was contact and strictly speaking it looked a good penalty call.

The second incident involved the same two players, but once again the Algerian appeal was turned down. Replays showed it was a nailed on spot kick, only adding to the sense of outrage of the Algerian bench.

The north Africans launched wave after wave of attack, but although they got into good positions, the finishing was wasteful.

There was a lengthy delay towards the end of the game when a goal post iAfrican the Togo penalty area snapped, but the game was able to continue after repairs were eventually made.

The match officials signaled an extra 13 minutes at the end of the game to make up for the interruption, and it was during that period that Wome burst clear from the halfway line. The man who plays for Free State Stars in the South African PSL kept his cool to slot home.

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