Defending African Cup of Nations champions Ivory Coast were held by Togo in a drab game at the Stade d’Oyem.
The stadium was two-thirds deserted as Ivorian fans ditched the game in protest over citizens from the host nation getting free tickets. Already a bad start, a dead atmosphere and only the sounds of the Togolese musical instruments filled the stadium.
The game was completely lacking in chances. The first half saw one the best ones. Kodjia had a penalty appeal turned down after contact with Gakpe while trying to unleash a shot.
Togo had arguably the best chance of the half via Dossevi. Bebou played a fantastic angled through ball with Dossevi running onto it but before he could get a clean shot away, Gbohouo had already rushed out of his net to slide the ball away and dispossess Dossevi.
The second half was very dreary. A few long distance headers being the only half-chances.
Ivory Coast practically ended their own chances by bringing off Zaha. He had been the only stand-out player on the field. The Ivorians looked like they were giving up on the game.
Max Gradel did breath some late life into the game. His introduction to the game was too little too late however. He provided some good service which nobody could latch onto.
Adebayor was very good for Togo but not in a way one would expect. He consistently expertly cleared opposition corners and free kicks.
Togo will definitely be the more satisfied of the two with that result.
The opening minutes of the game were starved of action but after the uneventful start, a chance fell to Kodjia of the Ivory Coast. Kalou shrewdly played a ball through to Kodjia, amid contention from Gakpe, he managed to get a shot away which went straight at Agassa.
There appeared to be contact between him and Gakpe before the shot was taken but any appeals were waved away. A half-chance for the Ivory Coast.
Togo came close just under the 30-minute mark. Bebou on the left, played a diagonal through ball into the middle for Dossevi. Dossevi ran onto it and was one-on-one but before Dossevi could get a shot away Gbohouo shot out of his net and with a sliding tackle dispossessed the Togolese player.
Togo nearly conceded an unlucky goal when Zaha’s cross came across the face of goal and was only parried by Agassa. The ball looped up but no Ivorian player could get onto it for a tap in.
The first half ended goalless, a disappointing half considering the talent on display.
Ivory Coast had a half-chance over 10 minutes into the second half and it fell to Crystal Palace winger Wilfried Zaha. Zaha received the ball from Seri after a short corner routine. He scrambled into the box with a horizontal run but could only fire over the bar after. Akatara did very well to put plenty of pressure on Zaha.
Ivory Coast were the first to make a change as Doukoure came on for Seri in an attempt to open the game up.
Zaha created another chance for the Ivory Coast. From a quick free kick in his own area, he played a quick one-two and then made a fantastic run down the right leaving Djenne for dead. He ran for the byline and made a sharp left turn running into the box and taking a shot which was blocked by a sliding effort.
Zaha was surprisingly then brought off despite being the stand-out player. Fellow Premier League star Wilfried Bony came on despite his lack of game time this season at Stoke.
Laba missed a headed chance in the late stages of the game. Bebou made a fairly lengthy run down the left before crossing promisingly into the area. The cross came to Laba but he couldn’t deliver from distance hitting it with the back of his head and sending it over the bar.
Ivory Coast made their third and final substitute with just under 10 minutes left on the clock. Gradel, a talented midfielder who has fallen out of favour at Bournemouth, came on for Kodjia. Togo followed with their first substitute: Akakpo on for Laba.
Soon after this Togo made another substitution: Agbegniadan on for Dossevi.
Serge Aurier headed wide from a long distance out. Substitute Max Gradel made a great cross into the left back and from around the penalty spot, he headed wide of the right post.
Togo made their final substitution just before stoppage time. Adebayor was to come off and Boukari to come on.
The game ended 0-0. A game of poor quality from the defending champions and Togo. The first half held more chances than the second and both sides seemed to have settled for the draw late on. Togo will definitely be the happier of the two.