Playing cautiously in your opening game is very vital. That is exactly how a star-studded Ivory Coast got their tournament underway, playing against a less favoured Togo. While the Elephants were cautious and played with fear of losing minnows, the Leopards, playing with 10 men, got over their pre-tournament cash troubles to register a hard fought 1-0 victory over Morocco.
The two sides face off on Friday, and expectations are high coming into this one. A loss or a draw could be an acceptable result for Congo, while Ivory Coast must win this one. A draw for the defending champions will complicate matters for them, putting in mind what could happen in the other matches later in the evening.
Congo was lucky to hit one past Morocco. Florent Ibenge’s men had to hang on to everything to ensure they win, exposing themselves badly. They further went on to shoot themselves in the foot, with a red card flashed out to Lomalisa Mutambala who will miss this fixture.
Ivory Coast, the defending champions, lacked the fluency expected of them while playing against Togo. That could be forgiven, considering it was their opening match against a too familiar opponent. Salomon Kalou and Wilfried Zaha were constantly knocking on Togo’s goal,and we expect the duo to cause Congo all sorts of trouble.
Ivory Coast is known to have some great attacking influence. Congo is expected to play extremely defensively and attempt to avoid a lose. That is however, very unlikely now that Ivory Coast is desperate for a win and has the machinery to break down any opposition.
Morocco vs Togo Preview: Ade Magic To Lift Togo
An overwhelming Underdog in Togo put up a solid and spirited display to hold Ivory Coast to a draw in the opening tie, and set up itself for a good start in the Africa Cup of Nations.
While Togo was going about its business, one man in Emmanuel Adebayor stood out. The 32 year old, clubless forward displayed great confidence that few players possessed in the match. ‘Sheyi’s’ talismanic presence saw Togo punch above its weight, and almost certainly start dreaming of a knock out berth.
Togo’s opponents Morocco will battle to survive as a loss here will almost certainly spell an exit from the tournament. The North Africans were unlucky not to pick a point, and will come out guns blazing against an unpredictable West African opposition. Two-time AFCON winner Herve Renard has already lowered the stakes for his side, saying they lack the desired quality and do well in the continental competition.
The only competitive meeting between these two sides ended in a draw, and this will be their maiden AFCON meeting. An extremely tight one, where we think the most confident side- Togo- will win.
Claude Leroys magic on the touchline and Emmanuel Adebayor’s touch should certainly see Togo through.