Sports Mole brings you minute-by-minute coverage of Togo's progression into the quarter-finals of the Africa Cup of Nations courtesy of a 1-1 draw with Tunisia.
By Danielle Joynson, Staff Reporter Filed: Wednesday, January 30, 2013 at 16:30 UK
Last Updated: Wednesday, January 30, 2013 at 19:08 UK
Togo and Tunisia headed into today's Group D fixture knowing that either side could go through to the quarter-finals or be sent home.
The Sparrow Hawks had an advantage as they just needed a draw to make the final eight, while Tunisia were searching for all three points.
Togo started off strongly by finding the net through Serge Gakpe, and while Tunisia responded with a penalty kick by Khaled Mouelhi, they were unable to get the second and crashed out of the tournament.
Discover how the result unfolded in our minute-by-minute coverage below.
4.30pmHello all! Welcome to our coverage of today's crucial Group D clash between Togo and Tunisia. The second qualifying spot is all up for grabs! However, the Sparrow Hawks just need a draw to join Ivory Coast, while Tunisia need all three in order to progress.
4.33pmAs I've just mentioned, The Elephants have already booked a spot in the quarter-finals and they will go up against Nigeria in their first knockout clash, while Algeria, who are also in Group D, have already crashed out of the tournament.
4.37pmTogo and Tunisia sit on three points apiece as they head into tonight's match but Togo's superior goal difference ensures that they go through with a draw.
4.37pmThe other game (as mentioned earlier) between Ivory Coast and Algeria is pretty much a formality where the table is concerned but you can follow the minute-by-minute action here.
4.42pmJust to remind you, both games kick off at 5pm so we have just under 20 minutes to go until we're underway in South Africa. As soon as the team news comes through, I'll let you know!
4.43pmAh, right on cue! We have the starting XI's for both sides. Togo up first...
4.48pmTogo have made a double change for this contest as Moustapha Salifou and Jonathan Ayite make way for Vincent Bossou and Ayite's brother, Floyd.
4.49pmEmmanuel Adebayor, who was close to missing the tournament completely, will lead the line for his nation, while Dove Wome has been excluded from the today's team.
4.51pmIf we switch over to Tunisia - they have made three changes as Fakhreddine Ben Youssef, Bilel Ifa and Anis Boussaidi are replaced by Oussama Darragi, Walid Hichri and Wahbi Khazri.
4.53pmGood news for Tunisia as Youssef Msakni gets the nod to start, despite his angina issues.
4.56pmAs the teams emerge from the tunnel to take their place for the national anthems and obligatory handshakes, it's interesting to note that Togo have never reached the quarter-finals since their debut in 1992.
4.57pmThe teams are getting in position and we'll be shortly underway, here in Nelspruit.
0 minAnd we're off! Togo get us underway, kicking from left to right...
1 minBoth teams try to find their feet in these first few minutes and it will be interesting to see how the players deal with this dry pitch.
1 minTunisia try a long-ball attempt to find the feet of Khilfa but he knocks it too far and it goes out of play.
3 minTunisia are seeing most of the possession in these early stages as Hichri tries a searching ball up top but Togo are able to clear.
4 minAbdennour gets charged down by Romao in his own half but as the Togolese midfielder tries to latch onto the ball, he fouls Abdennour.
5 minAlmost a chance there! Gakpe gets a fluid through-ball into space in the final third. He manages to get his cross into box to find Ayite, but the defender does enough to knock the ball out for a corner, which comes to nothing.
7 minDespite Tunisia's positive start, their back line was very easily pulled apart there. Togo will be hoping to exploit that over the course of the game.
8 minChammam brings down Ayite with a late challenge and gets penalised for it. Togo are always pressing when Tunisia have the ball.
9 minCHANCE! Gakpe drives down the right and pulls away from his defender to get a decent cross into the box. The ball bounces around in the area and falls to Adebayor, who tries to swerve the ball into the back of the net with a low ball but it drifts out wide.
10 minTunisia are able to breathe again and they try to launch an attack from the back.
11 minBOOKING! It's an early yellow card for Tunisia and it was a correct decision as Mouelhi commits a lunging challenge.
13 minTogo have drawn first blood! Adebayor snatches the ball just above the halfway line and slides it into the path of Gakpe, who gets ahead of the defender and shoots into the bottom right-hand corner of the net.
14 minThe Hawks have taken the lead but replays indicate that it should never have stood in the first place. Gakpe was offside when he received the ball from Adebayor but the linesman missed it!
15 minTogo look in control here as Mamah and Amewou try to launch a play down the right-hand side but the ball gets knocked out of play.
16 minCHANCE! At the other end Msakni had a great chance to test the keeper. He picks the ball up in midfield and finds space to storm to the edge of the penalty area to set up a shot. He hits the ball but the pressure is far too late and it's an easy collect for the keeper. He should have blasted it!
18 minIt's another long ball attempt from Tunisia, but there's nobody there to pick it up and Togo regain possession.
19 minAdebayor lays the ball off Gakpe, who tries the return pass but the Tottenham Hotspur forward is flagged offside.
20 minMISS! Adebayor was close to making it 2-0 for Togo after playing the ball out wide to Ayite, who stormed down the right flank to get the cross into the penalty area. The Spurs forward finds the end of the cross and launches the ball towards the back of the net but it just goes wide.
21 minKhlifa gets the ball out wide and manages to come inside to thread the ball through with Msakni in mind but Togo defend in numbers.
22 minKhlifa gets away from Bossou on the edge of the area but the Tunisian gets penalised for a push on his opponent. It was an unfortunate decision against Khlifa as replays show that contact was minimal.
24 minTunisia are given time to knock the ball back and forth in their own half but they are struggling to penetrate Togo's line although not they have a free kick opportunity just outside of the area. Let's see if they can make anything from this...
25 minKhazri takes it and while his shot gets past the wall, the ball loses its momentum when it bounces twice and the keeper gathers.
27 minDakonam gets a throw-in for Togo and he aims for the box but it's forced out by the Tunisia defence.
28 minDaragi tries to run the ball through the middle of the park but Mamah stands firm and blocks his path.
29 minPENALTY! Well, the tables have turned! Tunisia get a penalty due to a push from Nibome on Hichri.
30 minGame on! Mouelhi eases the ball into the bottom left corner of the net with a cool finish. Agassa went the right way but it just drifts pass his fingertips.
31 minTogo are trying to settle things down here by knocking the ball around midfield but as it stands, the Hawks still go through due to their superior goal difference. However, if Tunisia get a second goal, that all changes!
32 minBen Cherifia is forced to come off his line to snatch the ball after it bounces just in front of Ayite, but the keeper times his move well and clears the danger.
34 minDaragi drives down the left-hand side of the box but the ball just runs away from him and goes out of play.
35 minLooking back at the replays of the penalty offence, you'd have to say that Hichri went down very easily from a slight push in the back. Sometimes they're given, sometimes not!
36 minAt the other end, Romao tries to take the lead for Togo by taking a clean shot from far out but it just flies over the top of the crossbar.
37 minDaragi crosses the ball into the penalty area to find the head of Khazri but his move inside is wrongly timed and he gets called offside.
38 minAbdennour once again opts for the long ball in his own half, with Khazri on the right in mind but it's hit too hard and goes out of play.
39 minBOOKING! Msakni goes into the referee's book for a foul on Amewou.
40 minTogo have slightly lost their grasp on this game at the moment. Since Tunisia's equaliser they've been knocked off their rhythm and we've hardly seen anything from Adebayor in the last 10 minutes or so.
41 minKhlifa wins a corner for Tunisia after a surging run from the left and they have a chance to try to force through a second goal just before half-time...
42 minKhazri takes it but it's an easy catch for Agassa, who launches it up field quickly, where Togo win a free kick for themselves.
43 minAyite whips the shot it but it gets cleared by the head of Daragi for a throw-in.
44 minAyite manages to get the cross in from the right-hand side in search of Adebayor but his ball is blocked.
45 minHammami gets a searching cross into the box, which finds Chammam, who knocks it back to Khlifa, who completes the return pass and Chammam's volley shot is blocked.
5.47pmSo, after the first 45 minutes of play we're all square, but it's not quite the same for the group. Despite the 1-1 scoreline, as it stands, Togo will be going through to the final eight.
5.48pmTogo deserved their lead as they started off the better side in Nelspruit. They began on the frontfoot and Adebayor, Gakpe and Ayite linked up well to cause the Tunisian back line some trouble.
5.51pmGakpe managed to convert a chance created by Adebayor to take the lead but on reflection, the goal shouldn't have stood considering Gakpe was offside when he received the ball.
5.52pmTunisia had their own slice of luck when they were awarded a penalty from a push on Hichri but while replays have showed that it wasn't a stonewall penalty, the ref thought it was in real time and Mouelhi slotted the ball coolly into the back of the net.
5.53pmWhile Togo started off stronger that their opponents, it was Tunisia who were asking all the questions for the last 15 minutes or so. It'll be interesting to see how the two sides come out for the second half, especially since Togo are already through if it stays this way.
5.56pmIn the other Group D fixture, which is going on at the same time, Algeria and Ivory Coast are currently goalless at half-time. Since both of the sides' fates have already been decided, there's not much pressure behind that clash.
5.58pmSo, either Togo or Tunisia will join Ivory Coast, Nigeria, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Mali, South Africa and Cape Verde in the final eight.
6pmWe're set up for an exciting half as it all flips on its head if Tunisia take the lead.
45 minThe teams are back out and Tunisia get us underway!
45 minThere's a tussle in the middle of the field between Daragi and Ayite but the Tunisian gets a free kick from a challenge from Ayite.
46 minThe ball hasn't quite settled as yet as both teams are booting it up in the air. Both sides are just trying to find their rhythms again.
47 minAdebayor gets penalised for a high foot in the 18-yard box, which allows Tunisia to build from the back again.
48 minAyite skips past Chammam with some trickery and storms down the right-hand side but Chammam recovers to give away a corner.
49 minIt gets fired in but Khlifa manages to get to it before any yellow shirts and clears the danger.
49 minA penalty shout from Tunisia as Daragi is caught in the box by Boussou. The Tunisian gets just ahead of his opponent and Boussou catches the midfielder from behind. It should have been a penalty!
51 minBOOKING! Khazri gets a caution for arguing Tunisia's case to the referee.
52 minTunisia have started the second half as they finished it. They're probing more than their opponents but they will feel aggrieved for not being given a penalty.
53 minIt seems as though Togo's game plan are to sit and play out the draw as they are already through, and wait for the chance to break. It's a risky move though!
54 minAdebayor is penalised once again in the penalty area after he slips offside when a free kick is taken. The Spurs forward hasn't been his influential self as yet.
55 minMksani finds himself out wide on the left and he gets a long cross into the box trying to find Daragi but it goes just beyond him.
56 minMksani finds plenty of space just outside the 18-yard box and instead of surging towards goal, who plays the ball out wide to the oncoming Khlifa but the midfielder is wrongly called offside.
58 minCHANCE! At the other end, Aykite storms down the middle with nothing between him and the goalkeeper but he takes too long to take the shot, which allows Abdennour to get in front of him and clear the ball.
59 minBen Cherifia comes under pressure from the Togo forwards and messes up his clearance by hitting it out of play. While Tunisia have been more in control, Togo look like a threat on the break.
60 minMsakni tries another surging run towards the box but the ball runs away from him and he gives it away to Togo.
61 minSUBSTITUTION Tunisia make the first change of the match by bringing on Dhaouadi for Khazri.
63 minCHANCE! Some lovely skill from Adebayor! Th Spurs man snatches possession from Tunisia and dinks past his man to play the ball into Amewou's feet but his teammate fails to compose himself and fails to get a decent stab at it. The chance goes missing.
63 minTunisia get a free kick just on the edge of the penalty area after he's pulled down by Akakpo.
64 minBOOKING! Oh dear, the ref has it all wrong here. He books Nibombe for the foul when it was Akakpo who brought him down..
65 minSAVE! Daragi takes the free kick and he tries to curl it into the back of the net but the keeper gets hands to it to push it away from goal.
67 minTunisia are applying plenty of pressure on Togo and the men in yellow are defending in numbers but Tunisia are unable to break through to snatch a second goal.
68 minTogo have the chance to launch an attack after getting a free kick, which Akakpo launches into the box but nobody finds the end of it.
69 minHIT THE BAR! Togo are so close to taking the lead! A wonderful through-ball from Mouelhi finds the feet of Ayite, who crosses to Adebayor's head but his chance rattles on the top of the crossbar.
70 minOh dear, Togo are furious after not being awarded a penalty. Adebayor is clear on goal and as he shifts the ball out to the right to go past the keeper, Ben Cherifia brings down the Spurs forward, but the ref awards a corner.... It was a definite penalty.
72 minIt's clear that Adebayor played for the penalty as replays show that he was already falling down towards the keeper as he moved the ball out wide but the letter of the law says that it's a penalty.
73 minAt the other end, Daragi tries an ambitious shot from far out but it just edges over the top of the crossbar.
74 minSUBSTITUTION Togo make their first change as Gakpe makes way for Ayite's brother Jonathan.
75 minPENALTY! Wow. Tunisia get a penalty after Khlifa goes down from a slight challenge from Nibombe, but replays have shown that it was a dive from the Tunisian.
76 minHITS THE POST Drama! Mouelhi, who already converted a penalty in the first half, took a hesitant run up and tried to place it in the net but as it swerves up to the right-hand corner, it hits the post and bounces out.
78 minBOOKINGS! In the time just before the penalty kick was taken, the ref issued three yellow cards to Togo players. Jonathan Ayite and Adebayor were cautioned for dissent, while Agassa also went into the book.
79 minWhat a dramatic few minutes! As it stands though, Togo will be going through to the final eight and Tunisia will be out.
80 minChammam storms down the left-hand side but the ball runs away from him and he fails to get a cross in.
82 minFloyd Ayite gets the ball at the other end but a sliding challenge from Abdennour puts the forward off and he blazes his shot over the bar.
82 minIt's all in Togo's half at the minute but the men in yellow are doing enough to hold off the Tunisians.
84 minAdebayor tries to flick the ball behind him for Ayite but he fails to get on the end of it and Tunisia can build again.
85 minBOOKING! The ref is enjoying getting his yellow cards out! Now Floyd Ayite has been cautioned for a foul.
85 minA long clearance from the keeper almost finds Adebayor but Ben Cherifia manages to get to the ball first and dispel the danger.
87 minSUBSTITUTION Ben Youssef comes on for Tunisia while Traoui gets taken off.
88 minAdebayor's not happy with that! Ayite gets the ball down the left-hand side but instead of crossing into the fee of the Spurs forward, he tries a shot from an unlikely angle.
88 minSUBSTITUTION Floyd Ayite comes off the field in place of Ouro Akoriko.
89 minThat was close! A Tunisia corner kick is fired into the box and Agassa comes out from his line to punch away but he misses it completely. Luckily for him, so do the Tunisian players.
90 minSome great goalkeeping from Agassa there as he comes out to stop Ben Youssef from getting a shot in.
90+2 minSAVE! Tunisia were inches away from getting the winner but Agassa let's Togo breathe again. The ball comes off his own player as it's fired into the box but an instinctive save from Agassa prevents Ben Youssef from stabbing the ball in the net.
90+3 minAdebayor gets passed two players on the left and tries to find Ayite in the penalty area but his pass gets blocked.
90+4 minHammami tries to go all the way but his shot isn't very powerful and it goes wide.
90+4 minSUBSTITUTION Adebayor leaves the field for Wome as Togo are just a minute away from qualification.
6.52pmSo there we have it! Togo qualify for the quarter-finals of the Cup of Nations by holding out for a 1-1 draw, while Tunisia are sent packing.
6.53pmTogo started off strongly in the opening few minutes of the contest and secured the first goal of the clash but Tunisia responded well by finding an equaliser and going on to dominate the rest of the first half.
6.54pmThe second half started as the first 45 minutes finished, with Tunisia on top but Togo's game plan worked as they tried to hold on for the point and rely on any counter-attacking opportunities.
6.55pmThe game wasn't without drama though as the ref committed a number of blunders. Adebayor should have been given a penalty after he was brought down by the keeper, Tunisia's second penalty should never have been awarded, and the ref booked the wrong player following a foul!
6.56pmIt wasn't the best of games for the ref but Togo won't care about that! They are into the quarter-finals of the competition along with Group D winners Togo.
7pmSo, South Africa, Cape Verde, Ghana, Mali, Nigeria, Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast and Togo make up the final eight of the Africa Cup of Nations. We hope you enjoyed tonight's coverage and make sure you return to Sports Mole for all the quarter-finals clashes. Enjoy!