The Sparrow Hawks have eventually broken their quarter-final drought at the Nations Cup after drawing with the Carthage Eagles in a game of eight yellow cards and two penaltiesA goal from Serge Gakpe powered Togo to the quarter-finals of the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations for the first time, after drawing 1-1 with Tunisia.
The Sparrow Hawks were held by the Carthage Eagles in the final round of the Group D fixtures on Wednesday, but the result was enough to end the west Africans’ Nations Cup quarter-finals drought in their last six outings.
Togo dominated the first 25 minutes of the first half and capitalised on the high line situation of the north Africans to take the lead. Gakpe sneaked into the Tunisians defence after being played through by Emmanuel Adebayor, before lashing the ball beyond goalkeeper Ben Chrifia.
Didier Six’s men could have made it two thanks to the north Africans high line once again, however, captain Adebayor smashed the ball wide after a Gakpe ball from the byline.
The 2004 African champions woke up from their slumber and came into the game that was being dictated at the pace of Adebayor and his men. Right on the half hour mark, coach Sami Trabelsi’s men levelled to make it 1-1.
Khaled Mouelhi equalised for the Tunisians from the spot. He sent Kossi Agassa the wrong way and calmly stroked the ball into the bottom right corner of the goal. The penalty was given when Walid Hichri went down so easily under pressure from Dare Nibombe.
It was the Carthage Eagles who were enjoying the better of possession in the second half, until the last 20 minutes when the Togolese changed their strategy. The Tottenham Hotspur striker almost put his side back in front, but his header from a Floyd Ayite's cross hit the woodwork.
Tunisia’s golden moment came in the 78th minute when an opponent clipped the heels of a Tunisian forcing referee Daniel Bennett to point at the penalty spot to the dissatisfaction of the west Africans. Within minutes he brandished the yellow card for three Togolese players including Adebayor, Agassa and Ayitte for protesting his decision.
However, Khaled Mouelhi missed ithe penalty by hitting the post. Togo had Agassa to thank for making a few brilliant saves in stoppage time to give them a quarter-finals berth against Burkina Faso, while Tunisia go home after a disappointing Afcon for them.