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Togo 1-1 Tunisia

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Togo: Deserved quarter-finalists

Togo: Deserved quarter-finalists

Togo qualified for the knockout phase of the Africa Cup of Nations for the first time in their history following their 1-1 draw with Tunisia at the Mbombela Stadium on Wednesday evening.

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Serge Gakpe gave his side a 13th minute lead before Khaled Mouelhi levelled matters with his 30th minute penalty.

The Sparrow Hawks will now face Burkina Faso in the next round, but it was so nearly the Eagles of Carthage who went through, however, Mouelhi could not repeat his first half showing as he missed from the spot with 12 minutes of the match remaining.

Emmanuel Adebayor was a constant threat to the Tunisian defence and will feel aggrieved he was not awarded at least one penalty early in the match.

The striker set up his side's first real chance of the game, releasing Floyd Ayite out wide on the right before drawing a save from Moez Ben Cherifia at his near post. The ball broke to Adebayor again and from the edge of the box he could only manage to side-foot his shot wide of the left-hand post.

But it was Adebayor who set up Gakpe for their goal with the striker finishing delightfully past Cherifia. The Tottenham man drove straight down the middle of the pitch and looked to have waited too long to release Gakpe but the goalscorer took the ball in his stride before cutting it back past the goalkeeper and into the bottom far corner of the net.

Adebayor was at the centre of the action again as he fired just wide after latching onto a good cross from Gakpe.

Wahib Khazri was then slow to react at the back post to an excellent cross from the left from Saber Khelifa, with Dakonam Djene doing well to shepherd the ball out of play.

Tunisia were back in the match though when Dare Nibombe was adjudged to have dragged down Walid Hichri inside the box as the players waited for a corner and Mouelhi calmly slotted the resultant spot-kick into the bottom left corner of the net.

Togo continued to look the more likely team to score in the second half with Adebayor denied a penalty after being brought down by Walid Hichri.

Ayite then broke forward before unleashing a shot from inside the area but Aymen Abdennour did well to get back and put in a vital block.

Komlan Amewou missed a glorious chance for Togo after Adebayor had done well to get the better of Abdennour and deliver a good cross - with Amewou completely missing the ball.

Agassa Kossi pulled off a great save to deny Youssef Msakni from a free-kick moments later before the same player forced another good save from the keeper from open play.

Adebayor came even closer to a goal as he hit the crossbar with a powerful header from a super Ayite cross from the left before the striker was again upended in the box, this time by Cherifia.

Nibombe though was perhaps harshly adjudged to have tripped Khelifa inside the box although justice was perhaps served with the player hitting the right upright.

Kossi then made a last-ditch save to deny substitute Fakhereddine Ben Youssef after a poor backwards header before the keeper again saved his side from close range - from the same player from the resultant corner.

But the end it just wasn't to be for Tunisia despite all the help from the referee and Togo will no doubt celebrate well into the night.

Posted: 30/01/13 19:32

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