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Cote D'Ivoire Draws 0 - 0 With Togo At AFCON 2017

Title holders Ivory Coast made a disappointing start to their Africa Cup of Nations title defence despite their deep talent when held 0-0 by Togo in Gabonese town Oyem.
Michel Dussuyer's men are once more among the favourites to lift the trophy on February 5 - having defeated Ghana on penalties in the final two years ago for their second title. Paris Saint-Germain defender Serge Aurier came close to breaking the deadlock with two minutes remaining, heading a cross narrowly wide.
The result maintained a trend of stalemates in the 2017 tournament, which kicked off two days ago, with four of the first five matches failing to produce a winner.
The Ivorian starting line-up included high-profile names two English Premier League footballers, Manchester United defender Eric Bailly and Crystal Palace winger Wilfried Zaha. Abidjan-born Zaha was making his first competitive debut for the Elephants having switched international allegiance after two friendly appearances for adopted country England.
Togo coach Claude Le Roy still relies on the experienced Emmanuel Adebayor as his captain and main man up front, despite the attacker being without a club since his Crystal Palace departure at the end of last season.



Scoring chances were scarce in a first half watched by a small crowd at a 20,000-seat stadium built on the outskirts of Oyem, a town in northern Gabon.

Ivory Coast struggled to get going in the opening 45 minutes, though, and Togo arguably had the better chances before the break, with Mathieu Dossevi in particular coming close.
With Eric Bailly at the back, Chelsea target Franck Kessie in midfield, Wilfried Zaha on the wing and Aston Villa’s Jonathan Kodjia keeping Wilfried Bony out of the starting XI up front, Ivory Coast have all the tools to retain the title they won in Equatorial Guinea two years ago.

Togo had an opportunity to break the deadlock just before the half-hour mark when a cross from the left wing found the Ivorian defence wanting.
But goalkeeper Sylvain Gbohouo spotted the potential danger and darted off his goalline to parry a low shot from veteran midfielder Matthieu Dossevi.
As an equally cagey, largely chance-less second half meandered into the final quarter, Ivory Coast coach Michel Dussuyer substituted one Premier League attacker with another.
Off came Zaha and on his place arrived Wilfried Bony, an underachieving striker with Stoke City, on loan from Manchester City.
Togo, who had drawn twice and lost twice to Ivory Coast in four previous Cup of Nations clashes, were well organised and not overawed at facing a country ranked 21 places higher in Africa.
Ivory Coast meet DR Congo on Friday in their second group game, while Togo take on Morocco.



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