Current reigning champions Ivory Coast got off to a stuttering start against Togo in the heart of the Gabonese jungle.
With the likes of Manchester United’s Eric Bailly at the back, Chelsea target Franck Kessie in midfield, Wilfried Zaha on the wing and Aston Villa’s Jonathan Kodjia, Ivory Coast struggled to break down a Togolese side lead by Club-less Emmanuel Adebayor
Ivory Coast: (4-3-3):
Gbohouo; Aurier, Kanon, Bailly, Traore; Kessi, Die, Seri (Doukoure 65 mins); Zaha (Bony 70), Kodjia (Gradel 81), Kalou
Agassa; Gakpe, Romao, Ouro-Akoriko, Dakonam; Dossevi (Agbegniadan 87), Ayite, Bebou; Laba (Akakpo 81), Adebayor (Boukari 89)
Champions Ivory Coast struggled to get going in the opening 45 minutes, though, and Togo arguably had the better chances before the break, with Mathieu Dossevi in particular coming close.
The Elephants created the first clear-cut chance when Jonathan Kodjia could only aim a toe-poked shot straight at goalkeeper Kossi Agassa with Togo defender Serge Gakpe doing just enough to put the Aston Villa forward off with a last-ditch tackle.
Togo could have gone a goal up midway through the first half as Adebayor set up Kodjo Fo-Doh Laba with an intelligent backheel, only for the attacker to shoot wide from inside the area after being hindered by team-mate Floyd Ayite.
However Ivory Coast improved somewhat in the second half and looked dangerous via Zaha, but they failed to break down the Togo defence and had to settle for a point.
Ivory Coast Coach Dussuyer brought on Wilfried Bony for Zaha in an attempt to force a winner, but they almost went 1-0 down when Bebou sent in a superb cross for Laba, the attacker somehow failing to get his header on target from close range.
The pattern continued for much of the second period, and in the closing stages it was Togo who looked more likely to win it, countering at pace and creating half-chances, though Aurier might well have scored with a free header two minutes from time.