Togo ends Algeria’s Africa campaign

Updated 27 January 2013
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Togo ends Algeria’s Africa campaign

RUSTENBURG, South Africa: Ivory Coast — with considerable help from Togo — turned on the style to qualify for the Africa Cup of Nations quarterfinals on Saturday night as Algeria were knocked out.
Day eight’s action came from Rustenburg, where the Ivorians bounced back from a below-par opening performance to power past Tunisia 3-0, the goals coming from Gervinho, his English Premier League colleague Yaya Toure, and late substitute Didier Ya Konan.
With Togo stunning former champions Algeria 2-0 in the late game, Ivory Coast were assured of top spot in Group D — irrespective of results when the curtain comes down on this first round mini-league next Wednesday.
Togo, who had goals from Tottenham striker Emmanuel Adebayor and substitute Dove Wome to thank for their shock win over Algeria, now need only a draw against Tunisia to bag the runners-up spot.
While those two teams celebrated a good night’s work at the Royal Bafokeng Sports Palace, there was understandable dooom and gloom in the talented but inexperienced Algerian camp.
Coach Vahid Halilhodzic arrived at the traditional post-match press conference looking as glum as someone who had just won the lottery, only to discover his dog had eaten the ticket.
They have a bright future, but there’s still work to do.” He added: “It’s understandable the fans are angry, they had high expectations.” Togo, who went within two minutes of keeping the Ivorians in check in their opening game, excelled to earn their first Nations Cup win since beating Cameroon 13 years ago.
Adebayor, who only answered his country’s call after a protracted wrangle over bonuses, security and the state of Togolese football, cut a satisfied figure when he met the media.
“We had a good game against Ivory Coast but, unfortunately, did not win. We all came together to move forward and that shows that if everyone is united we can achieve great things.” Coach Didier Six did not waste words: “We were up against a very good Algeria team, The win was deserved. Togo had the ambition to win.” Adebayor, who hid under a seat when the team bus came under machine-gun attack before the 2010 Cup in Angola with two of the entourage killed, added: “It’s always important to score at the Nations Cup. We knew we had to win after our first defeat. We attacked well, converted our chances. Now I hope there will be more reasons to celebrate.” Earlier, Ivory Coast coach Sabri Lamouchi had sprung a surprise, dropping talismanic captain Didier Drogba as he rotated his squad.
He had promised a new, improved team to the one that labored in the 2-1 win over Togo and, sure enough, the Elephants put up the best performance seen in South Africa since battle commenced.
“Why didn’t I play Didier Drogba? Because it seemed to me that the 11 players I picked were the best to overcome this good Tunisian side,” explained Lamouchi.
“My first satisfaction comes from the victory and the second from the content. We really entered this competition today.
“We caused a lot of problems for this very good Tunisian team and were never really threatened at any point.”


Profligate Arsenal punished by 10-man Atletico Madrid

The gunners could not defeat 10-man Atletico Madrid. (AFP)
Updated 27 April 2018
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Profligate Arsenal punished by 10-man Atletico Madrid

  • The Gunners played with an extra man for over 80 minutes
  • Arsenal now need to become the first away team to score in 12 matches at Atletico’s Wanda Metropolitano stadium next week

LONDON: Arsenal’s hopes of sending outgoing manager Arsene Wenger off with a trophy suffered a major blow as they could only draw 1-1 with 10-man Atletico Madrid in the first leg of their Europa League semifinal on Thursday.
The Gunners played with an extra man for over 80 minutes at the Emirates Stadium, with Sime Vrsaljko’s early red card handing them the initiative.
However, they were made to rue a host of missed chances before and after Alexandre Lacazette headed them in front on the hour mark.
Atletico coach Diego Simeone was also sent to the stands shortly after Vrsaljko’s dismissal, but the Spaniards resisted manfully and pounced when their chance came as Antoine Griezmann prodded home a vital away goal eight minutes from time.
Arsenal now need to become the first away team to score in 12 matches at Atletico’s Wanda Metropolitano stadium next week if Wenger’s last game in charge is to be the final in his homeland in Lyon on May 16.
Moreover, Arsenal’s hopes of Champions League football next season also hang on becoming the first side other than Real Madrid to eliminate Atletico from Europe for five seasons.
There was a far more highly-charged atmosphere for Wenger’s penultimate home game in charge than there had been for last weekend’s game against West Ham United.
And the hosts were given plenty of encouragement early on, even when still up against Atletico’s full complement.
Lacazette volleyed off the outside of the post and forced Jan Oblak into the first of a series of fine saves with a header from close range.
Vrsaljko had been booked within two minutes for bringing down Jack Wilshere.

And the Croatian left his side a man light after just 10 minutes when French referee Clement Turpin showed no leniency for another late challenge on Lacazette.
Moments later, Simeone was also dismissed by the officious referee for taking his protests too far when an Arsenal player wasn’t booked for what he thought was a similar foul.
Atletico’s excellent defensive record is what has carried them to five European semifinals in seven seasons under Simeone.
The visitors battened down the hatches with 10 men, but were reliant on Oblak to keep them in the tie.
Wilshere headed straight at Oblak when unmarked at the back post at the end of a flowing Arsenal move.
And the Slovenian then spread himself well with an outstretched leg to deny Danny Welbeck.
Having weathered the Gunners’ early storm, Atletico only began to threaten themselves late in the first half and David Ospina had to be alert to parry a fiercely struck Griezmann shot following a fine run from Thomas Partey.
Atletico retreated ever deeper toward their own goal after the break and were finally punished on the hour mark when Wilshere’s deep cross found Lacazette rising above Lucas Hernandez to head in his seventh goal in seven games.
However, the French international and Arsenal could have had more.
Laczette’s dangerous ball across goal found no takers before he headed another good opportunity wide.
And Arsenal paid heavily for their profligacy, and some comical defending, when Atletico grabbed a vital away goal on 82 minutes.
Griezmann outmuscled French international team-mate Laurent Koscielny and then benefited from a slip by Shkodran Mustafi after his initial effort had been saved by Ospina to prod his 27th goal of the season into the roof of the net.
There was still time for Oblak to show why Griezmann isn’t the only Atletico player wanted by Europe’s elite with a spectacular one-handed save to turn Aaron Ramsey’s header behind and keep Los Rojiblancos on course for another European final.