Four teams were in action yesterday as Group C opened up play in the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations.
In the initial match, the Ivory Coast began their title defense against a Togo side led by free agent Emmanuel Adebayor. The first half seemed to drag on forever and chances were at a minimum. The Ivory Coast struggled to create any real chances while Togo came closest through winger Mathieu Dossevi.
Both sides had chances to secure the three points in the second half. Ivory Coast’s Wilfried Zaha was extremely lively for The Elephants until he was replaced by Wilfried Bony with about 20 minutes remaining. PSG’s Serge Aurier almost snatched a late winner for the Ivory Coast seeing his header go just wide. By full time the current holders found themselves held to a disappointing 0-0 draw.
The later kickoff saw just the tournament’s second match that didn’t end in a draw. The DR Congo just barely emerged with a 1-0 victory against a Morocco side who should have found the back of the net on multiple occasions. Morocco controlled the first half for the most part missing plenty of chances. Right off the back, Morocco’s Aziz Bouhaddouz latched onto a cross heading the ball just wide. Minutes later, veteran Mbark Boussoufa saw his effort hit the bar.
The match was turned on its head 10 minutes into the second half when the DR Congo converted one of few chances. A dreadful goalkeeping error by Morocco’s Munir Mohand led to a smart, one-touch finish by DR Congo forward Junior Kabananga.
Morocco just couldn’t seem to get back into the game after conceding but were handed a lifeline with about 10 minutes remaining when DR Congo’s Joyce Lomalisa was handed a second yellow for a dangerous tackle on Faycal Fajr.
Despite the sending off, Morocco failed to find the back of the net leaving them without a point in Group C.
The Ivory Coast will look to be more clinical in front of goal on Friday when they take on a confident DR Congo side looking to build on their victory against Morocco. Togo will also be in action Friday hoping to remain strong in the back against a frustrated Morocco side who find themselves at the bottom of Group C.