Giants of football struggle at AFCON

Togo's midfielder Floyd Ayite (L) challenges Ivory Coast's midfielder Cheick Doukoure during the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations group C football match between Ivory Coast and Togo in Oyem on January 16, 2017. PHOTO: ISSOUF SANOGO / AFP

Togo’s midfielder Floyd Ayite (L) challenges Ivory Coast’s midfielder Cheick Doukoure during the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations group C football match between Ivory Coast and Togo in Oyem on January 16, 2017. PHOTO: ISSOUF SANOGO / AFP

The African Nations Cup (AFCON) produced a meagre total of one goal in two matches on Monday as the pre-tournament favourites continued to struggle with holders Cote d’Ivoire held by outsiders Togo.

The Elephants had to settle for a 0-0 draw in the opening match of a double bill played in stifling conditions at the Stade d’Oyem.

In the second game, Morocco coach Herve Renard, the Frenchman who led the Ivoiriens to the title in 2015, saw his side suffer a 1-0 defeat against Democratic Republic of Congo, who joined Senegal as the only team to have won a game.

Four of the first six matches at the tournament have been draws with Cameroun having previously been held by Burkina Faso, hosts Gabon by debutants Guinea Bissau and Algeria by Zimbabwe.

Togo, captained by clubless 32-year-old Emmanuel Adebayor, looked sharper in attack against the Ivoiriens.

But the game delivered just a handful of half chances, the best falling to the Ivoiriens two minutes from time as substitute Max Gradel’s cross was headed narrowly wide by Serge Aurier.

DR Congo’s Kazakhstan-based Junior Kabananga took advantage of poor Moroccan defending to score the day’s only goal in the 55th minute of the second game.

DR Congo clung on after substitute Joyce Lomalisa was sent off for a second bookable offence in the 81st minute and their goalkeeper Ley Matampi made a superb point-black stop from Youssef El Arabi’s header in the dying minutes.

•Culled from supersport.com

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