Africa Cup of Nations – Monday 16th January Group C
The Ivory Coast and Togo produced a nil nil bore draw to a sparse crowd in their opening game of Group C. No wonder hardly anybody bothered to turn up it was a dreadfully boring game with some real stars (allegedly) on show.
Togo came into the match as underdogs against a team from the Ivory Coast well known to a British audience because of the list of Premiership stars playing for the team. Players such as Manchester United’s Bailly, former Chelsea midfield man Saloman Kalou, Traore and Zaha, the Crystal Palace star who gave up his chance of playing for England to enable him to play for the Ivory Coast.
In a slow first half there were very few chances of any note as Togo willfully closed down the Ivory Coast early and looked for the breakaway with Adebayou their main man up front, the former Tottenham star currently without a club used his experience well and won a few battles but at no stage whatsoever did the striker look like scoring.
Actually nobody looked like scoring.
The only chance of the first half was Wilfried Zaha easily the best player on the pitch crossing with a lovely ball into the Togo six yard area but nobody was there to thunder it home and that was that in a ‘going through the motions’ half. Togo in the last seconds had a claim for a penalty waved away by the referee who was probably more interested in a cup of tea and a catch up on Eastenders during the half time break to wake him from this lifeless excuse for a game.
In the 55th minute Kodija headed wide for the Ivory Coast when it might be easier to score, not that it mattered though as the offside flag was up.
Ivory Coast are the current champions and they had another couple of chances with Zaha shooting over from 17 yards and a Kalou free kick high over the bar. To Zaha and everyone’s amazement the best player on the pitch was substituted on 69 minutes to be replaced by Stoke’s Wilfried Bony.
Togo caused absolutely no threat thoughout the match and would have a better chance scoring in a wine bar. Ivory Coast were like a balloon on a stick at a party, great to look at for ten minutes then a big let down.
Nil nil was the deserved result for both teams but more importantly for myself and the small crowd this is 90 minutes of our lives we can never get back.