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Jan 22, 2013

Ivory Coast wins on Gervinho goal

Gervinho scored an 88th-minute winner as tournament-favorite Ivory Coast opened its African Cup of Nations campaign with a 2-1 victory over Togo on Tuesday. The Arsenal forward ran behind the Togo defenders and found the net at the far post after a long free kick by Yaya Toure that Togo goalkeeper Kossi Agassa missed. Toure had scored from inside the area less than 10 minutes into the match, and Jonathan Ayite equalized for Togo from a corner just before halftime as the teams opened play in Group D on a hot afternoon in the northwestern city of Rustenburg. Led by Didier Drogba and several players from European clubs, Ivory Coast struggled to create many chances against a tightly-organized Togo team, whose scoring opportunities mostly fell to Tottenham striker Emmanuel Adebayor. Ivory Coast rode its luck on occasion, though, and was indebted to two fantastic saves from goalkeeper Boubacar Barry to deny Adebayor at the start of the match and then Floyd Ayite right at the end. Togo captain Adebayor looked certain to score in just the second minute after capitalizing on an error by his former Arsenal and Manchester City teammate Kolo Toure. However, just as he appeared to have rounded Barry, the diving keeper managed to get his fingertips on the ball and divert it away. That miss was compounded six minutes later when Ivory Coast took the lead. Gervinho's blocked cross from the right fell invitingly for Yaya Toure inside the area and the midfielder side-footed his shot past Agassa with the aid of a deflection. Tunisia 1, Algeria 0

Youssef M'Sakni scored a brilliant last-gasp winner for Tunisia to give them a Group D victory over Algeria in the African Nations Cup in Rustenburg.

M'Sakni lit up an otherwise turgid affair with a touch of class just as the game entered four minutes of injury time, curling home an unstoppable 25-yard effort into the top corner.

Tunisia now joins Ivory Coast at the top of the group following the latter's 2-1 win over Togo.

Tunisia's hopes suffered an early blow when Issam Jemaa was forced off after just 16 minutes with an injury suffered in a tussle for the ball with Essaid Belkalem, with Hamdi Harbaoui coming on. Algeria came closest to breaking the deadlock on 28 minutes when Sofiane Feghouli's cross found Islam Silmani in the area, but his header came back off the bar with goalkeeper Moez Ben Cherifia a mere spectator. Information from Press Association and The Associated Press was used in this report.

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