By Ayodele Odumade
Togo drew with Tunisia to qualify for the first time - for the quarter finals of the African Cup of Nations.
In the 5th minute, Serge Gakpe crossed the ball from the left to Floyd Ayite whose shot was blocked for a corner.
In the 9th minute, Ayite crossed the ball to Emmanuel Adebayor who side footed it wide.
In the 12th minute, Togo took the lead. Gakpe received a pass from Adebayor, and hit the shot with his left foot past Moëz Cherifia. Although he looked suspiciously offside, the linesman kept his flag down and a goal was given.
In the 17th minute, Youssef Msakni had a chance to equalise for Tunisia but Agassa Kossi easily saved his tame shot.
Three minutes later, Gakpe broke down the right hand side and cut the ball back for Adebayo, who volleyed the ball wide of the goal.
In the 29th minute, a corner kick awarded to Tunisia was put into the box and Dare Nibombe grappled with Walid Hichri, who went down easily and the referee awarded a penalty to Tunisia. Khaled Mouelhi calmly slotted the ball home from the spot to level the score.
The score was 1-1 at half time.
In the 49th minute, Tunisia should have had a penalty, when Vincent Bossou brought Oussama Darragi down. However the referee was not having any of it and waved played on.
In the 62nd minute, Adebayor robbed one of the Tunisian defenders of the ball, took the ball into the box, crossed to Komlan Amewou, who lost his footing and failed to connect with the ball properly.
In the 65th minute, Nibombe was booked in a case of mistaken identity instead of Serge Akakpo. Darragi took the resultant free kick, which was saved by Kossi. Nimbombe who had earlier been booked in the tournament will now miss the quarter final.
In the 69th minute, Ayite put an excellent cross into the box but Adebayor’s header hit the crossbar.
A minute later, Adebayor tried to go round Cherifa who brought him down. Surprisingly the referee did not give Togo a penalty, which in itself was a shocking decision.
In the 76th minute, Tunisia was awarded a dubious penalty. Dare Nimobe was adjudged to have brought Saber Khelifa down when it appeared to be a dive. Justice was done though, as Mouelhi hit the penalty against the post. It would have been cruel if Togo had gone out of the tournament because they have been one of the shining lights so far with their brand of football.
The Tunisians kept attacking but it was to no avail as the Togolese defence stood firm.
Emmanuel Adebayor has been pivotal to the team and the only person who will be upset about their qualification for the quarter final is Andre Villas Boas, his manager at Tottenham, due to the fact that he is short of strikers at the moment.
The only dilemma for Togo is whether they should appeal the yellow card mistakenly shown to Nibombe, which should have been shown to Akakpo. If they do appeal and the decision is changed, then Akakpo would miss the quarter final as he also received one earlier in the tournament.
In the other game in the group, Ivory Coast who had already won the group came from two goals down to draw 2-2 against Algeria, who had already been eliminated.
Togo will now play Burkina Faso, while Ivory Coast will play Nigeria to complete the quarter final lineup.