Africa Cup of Nations 2013: Adebayor captains Togo to first quarter-final
Africa Cup of Nations 2013: Emmanuel Adebayor helps Togo reach their first quarter-final after drawing with Tunisia
Emmanuel Adebayor captained his Togo side to their first-ever Africa Cup of Nations quarter-final as they sent Tunisia crashing out of the competition.
Togo managed to hold on to a draw after an early goal from Serge Gakpe, though it was later cancelled out by Khaled Mouelhi, proved to be enough for the Sparrow Hawks.
Togo started brightly and nearly opened the scoring on ten minutes, the chance falling to Tottenham Hotspur’s Adebayor, who parried the ball wide from 12-yards out.
Togo broke the deadlock just minutes later after an excellent through-ball from Adebayor released Gakpe, who sprung the offside trap and executed a neat finish.
An unmarked Adebayor nearly doubled Togo’s advantage – Floyd Ayite provided the cross but the Spurs striker will blame the poor surface as he sent the ball bobbling wide.
Tunisia also enjoyed their share of possession and were rewarded with a penalty after Walid Hichri was fouled from a push in the box by Dare Nibombe.
Khaled Mouelhi calmly converted Tunisia’s spot-kick to get the Carthage Eagles back into proceedings on the half hour.
Tunisia nearly took the lead minutes later as Saber Khalifa whipped a cross to an offside Wahbi Khazri, who nodded it just wide.
The 2004 champions started the second half like they ended the first, and were disappointed not to gain a penalty after Ousama Darragi was brought down in the box by Vincent Bossou.
Togo were quick to reply with a spot-kick appeal from Adebayor, followed by a botched chance from Ayite, with a solid defensive effort from Tunisia maintaining the deadlock.
The Tottenham star’s powerful header clipped the Tunisia bar on the counter-attack after Ayite’s surging cross met the former Arsenal man in the box.
Tunisia were handed some luck after a questionable refereeing decision – Khalifa fell from minimal pressure from Nibombe, handing them their second penalty.
But Mouelhi fired his effort against the post, meaning Togo will progress to play Group C winners Burkina Faso at the Mbombela Stadium on Sunday night.
Meanwhile, The Confederation of African Football has denied that defending champions Zambia have been reinstated, after a rumour spread that Group C rivals Burkina Faso had been disqualified.
“This is not true,” said CAF secretary-general Hicham El Amrani.