|(Africa Cup) Critical tussle for Togo and Tunisia
He probably was not aware of it at the time, but substitute Dove Wome's goal in the third minute of injury time in Togo's 2-0 win over Algeria could prove priceless.
Togo take on Tunisia tomorrow in Nelspruit, South Africa, in a winners-takes-all Africa Cup of Nations Group D encounter.
With Ivory Coast, playing already-eliminated Algeria simultaneously in Rustemnburg, already assured of top spot, the game will determine who joins the Elephants in the quarter-finals, AFP reports.
Togo and Tunisia are tied on three points, but Wome's goal helped give the Togolese the upper hand on goal difference, one of the criteria to split the teams in the event of a tie.
That means coach Didier Six's side will go through at the expense of the 2004 champions should Tuesday's game end in stalemate, with Tunisia joining fellow north Africans Morocco and Algeria on the Nations Cup scrapheap.
Although one point will suffice, Six insisted his team would be going all out to secure all three.
“I don't have a team which plays defensive football, the spirit of my players on the pitch is to win. Yes, mathematically, we need only one point, but the reality of our football is not to be content with that. We'll be going for the win.’’
Six marveled that the little west African nation were still in contention for a quarter-finals place after their opening 2-1 loss to Ivory Coast and the victory over Algeria.
“This is an extraordinary day for Togo. We must not hide from the reality that this is the group of death, and now we have a chance to progress.’’
The inexperienced French coach knows his team captained by Tottenham striker Emmanuel Adebayor will have their work cut out to contain Tunisia.
“The Tunisians have solid experience, they've been to many Nations Cups. We'll do our best to succeed, but it's going to be hard.’’
Tunisia's not-so-secret weapon is their talented midfielder Youssef Msakni, who kept his country in contention for a ticket to the last eight when scoring the 90th-minute winner over Algeria.
Tunisia, swept aside 3-0 in their second game by Ivory Coaat, will once again have to cope with the absence of key striker Issam Jemaa, out of the tournament with a knee injury sustained against Algeria.
Coach Samir Trabelsi refused to be too downhearted by the Ivorian defeat.
Whichever side finishes runners-up in Group D will cross swords with the winners of Group C in Nelspruit Sunday.