The 2017 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) continued on Monday night with two more fixtures in Group C between Cote D’Ivoire and Togo, as well as Congo DR and Morocco.
Defending champions Cote D’Ivoire struggled to break down a stubborn Togo side in the earlier match, and things ended in a goalless stalemate in the highly anticipated West African battle at the Stade d’Oyem.
Togo goalkeeper Kossi Agassa did well to keep the Sparrow Hawks in the game, thwarting a number of chances from the Elephants, but captain Emmanuel Adebayor could not inspire his underdog charges to victory.
Wilfried Zaha was making his competitive debut for Cote D’Ivoire since confirming his switch of allegiance from England in November, but the striker failed to impress and saw his best chance of the game sail over the crossbar.
With two minutes left on the clock, Ivorian defender Serge Aurier had a wonderful opportunity to win it for the defending champions, but his header went wide of the post and it ended 0-0, with both sides taking a point from the encounter.
The Democratic Republic of Congo managed to secure their place at the top of Group C after a hard-fought 1-0 win over Morocco at the Stade d’Oyem on Monday night.
The Congolese can thank Junior Kabananga for his second half goal which proved decisive on the night, ensuring a narrow victory for the Leopards against Herve Renard’s Atlas Lions.
The North Africans threw everything forward in the late stages of the second half in an attempt to earn something from their opening group stage match, but the sustained pressure could not break down a resolute Congo DR side.
The Congolese even spent the last 10 minutes scrambling in 10 men following the sending off of Joyce Lomalisa Mutambala in the 81st minute for a second yellow card, but they can be proud of a determined performance which earned them three points and top spot in their group after the first round of matches.