Togo claim spot in last eight as ref steals show

2013-01-30 21:29

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Moment of the Match: Referee Daniel Bennett awarding Tunisia two debatable penalties in each half and then denying Togo’s Emmanuel Adebayor a seemingly blatant one in the second half. The South African official had a night to forget.

Save of the match: Togo goalkeeper Kossi Agassa punching away Daragi Ousama’s freekick on the edge of the box in the 66th minute with the Tunisians searching for the crucial winning strike.

Player to watch: The nippy Togolese winger, Floyd Ayite, was a thorn in the side of the Tunisian defence with his trickery and pace and will be handful alongside Serge Gapke and Emmanuel Adebayor in the knockout stages.

Togo qualified for the quarterfinals of the 2013 Africa Cup of nations after a controversial 1-1 draw with Tunisia in their final Group D match at Mbombela Stadium tonight.

This is the first time the  Sparrow Hawks’ past the group  stage of the competition, and a bright light to a side that saw the team bus being attacked by rebels en route to their previous competition appearance in Angola three years ago.

They join group winners, Ivory Coast in the second round with Tunisia – the 2004 champions – eliminated with an inferior goal difference in a match they needed to win to progress.

Togo had taken a 13th minute lead through Serge Gikpe after being brilliantly set up by Emmanuel Adebayor.

However, the Tunisians replied through a Khaled Mouelhi penalty after 31 minutes after South African referee Daniel Bennet harshly adjudged Dare Nibombe to have fouled Hichri Oualid in the box.

Nibombe was again penalised for fouling Saber Khalifa midway through the second half, in what looked like a soft call, with Mouelhi hitting the woodwork this time from the spot kick.

The Togolese felt hard done as Emmanuel Adebayor looked to have been fouled by Tunisian keeper Ben Cherifia moments earlier, and fans voiced their disapproval.

However, the Sparrow Hawks were a superior side in the fixture and narrowly survived a late onslaught from Tunisia, having also missed a host of chances.

They will face Burkina Faso in the quarterfinals on Sunday night.

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