10 21 2014
  12:03 am  
     •     

(CNN) -- Ivory Coast, the perenniel underachievers of the Africa Cup of Nations, began its campaign for glory with a narrow 2-1 victory over Togo.

After suffering a shock defeat in last year's final by Zambia, Les Elephants is hoping to finally end their 21-year wait for victory in the competition.

Manchester City midfielder Yaya Toure put Ivory Coast ahead to ensure he has now scored in four successive Africa Cup of Nations tournaments.

Jonathan Ayite leveled for Togo just before the break, but Arsenal's Gervinho fired home a dramatic winner to seal the points.

Although happy with the result, Ivory Coast coach Sabri Lamouchi says he was left disappointed with his team's showing and has urged his players to learn from the contest.

"I was expecting something better from us -- it wasn't our best performance," Ivory Coast coach Sabri Lamouchi told reporters.

"I thought the first match was going to be difficult, but it was much harder than I was envisaging.

"I'm happy with the win, but we made too many mistakes, and will have to use this game as a lesson."

Togo coach Didier Six was still fuming at the decision of the referee to disallow his side's effort with the scores level at 1-1 and made a hasty exit from the press conference.

He told reporters: "I think my team deserved something else than that. It wasn't right, the rules weren't respected."

Togo, which is ranked 63 places below Ivory Coast, should have taken an early lead when Tottenham's Emmanuel Adebayor raced clear on goal only to miss his kick and let Boubacar Barry save.

It was a mistake which was to be punished as Toure lashed home via a deflection to give Ivory Coast an eighth minute lead.

Toure went close to doubling his side's advantage when his rasping effort hit the woodwork, but with just seconds of the first half remaining, Togo drew level.

Serge Akakpo's corner caused mayhem inside the penalty area and Ayite fired the ball home past a helpless Barry.

Togo then thought it had taken the lead when Dare Nibombe headed home a quickly taken corner, but the referee disallowed the effort after deeming the set-piece had been taken before the whistle had been blown.

That decision left Togo incensed and its frustration was further increased when Gervinho met Toure's free-kick at the far post to sweep home the winner.

Tunisia triumph

In the other match in Group D, Tunisia scored a 90th minute winner to see off North African rivals Algeria.

Although Algeria dominated for much of the contest, it was unable to find a way through a stubborn Tunisia defense.

And with time running out, Youssef Msakni produced a breathtaking curling effort which flew into the net and spark wild celebrations.

Ethiopia fined

Meanwhile, tournament organizers confirmed that Ethiopia has been fined $10,000 after its fans threw missiles onto the field of play during the 1-1 draw with Zambia Monday.

The incident took place after Ethiopia goalkeeper Jemal Tassew was shown a straight red card during the first-half.

A statement on the official website read: "After the expulsion of the goalkeeper, the Ethiopian spectators threw all sort of missiles at the field of play (plastic bottles, vuvuzelas....etc).

"The Board decided to impose a financial sanction on Ethiopia amounting to 10,000 USD, nevertheless, the board decided to suspend 5,000 USD on condition that Ethiopia is not found guilty of a similar offence until the end of the tournament (Article 83.3 of CAF Disciplinary Code)."

 

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