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2017 African Nations Cup, Group Stage 2017

Ivory Coast open title defence with goalless draw against Togo

Ivory Coast's defence of the African Nations Cup kicked off with a turgid goalless draw with Togo in Group C on Monday evening in Gabon.

The two-time champions, who lifted the trophy in 2015 following a penalty shootout against Ghana, were unable to find any fluency as they were held to a stalemate.

The Elephants made heavy work of qualifying for the tournament, and carried their form into the first game in a lethargic performance as both sides settled for a point.

They had opportunities to cut loose however, with Aston Villa's Jonathan Kodjia's effort well-saved early on.

The striker was played through after some smart footwork by Salomon Kalou, but a stumbling Kodjia could not regain his balance before Kossi Agassa rushed out to smother the ball.

Togo's biggest threat looked to be on the counter-attack. Mathieu Dossevi was played through by the lively Ihlas Bebou, but saw his effort saved low down by Sylvain Gbohouo in the best chance of the half.

Togo had a half-hearted penalty shout rejected just before the break, as Bebou's cross caught the arm of Adama Traore, who was unsighted.

Kalou and Wilfried Zaha continued to threaten after the break, with the latter firing narrowly over following a short corner before a fine solo run down the right saw him cut in and shoot against the defender.

Kodjo Laba could have done better with a free header in the 78th minute for Togo, before Serge Aurier missed a late chance to claim the points for Ivory Coast as his header drifted wide.

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