Togo beat Gabon by a goal to nil in Lome, meaning that both sides qualified for the 2010 African Cup of Nations thanks to Morocco's defeat against Cameroon.
This match was yet another of this weekend’s decisive encounters which would be linked with either Gabon or Cameroon booking their tickets for South Africa.
Before this match neither Togo nor Morocco were able to qualify for the World Cup, and the real showdown was between Gabon and African giants Cameroon who were a point ahead of their less illustrious rivals.
So while the Indomitable Lions faced Morocco in the other group match, Gabon traveled to Togo and knew that a win may not be enough to get them to next year’s global event. Referee Seechurn got the much-anticipated match underway in Lome, with the home side hoping to win back the support of their fans after a number of disappointing outings of late.
The traveling Gabonese were looking to make history by stealing the Group A spot from rivals Cameroon, and they got off to a slow start, perhaps taking their time to become comfortable in the game before attacking their opponents.
Apart from the World Cup qualification battle between Gabon and Cameroon, their was the final African Cup of Nations spot in the group at stake between Togo and Morocco, but by the half hour mark neither Gabon nor Togo had made any real impression on the match, with no goals to show for their efforts.
Both the Togo – Gabon game and the match between Morocco and Cameroon had begun at the same time so as not to benefit either of the sides involved, and at half time while Gabon was still struggling to find the back of the net in a goalless draw with Togo, Cameroon was winning their match against Morocco by a score of 1-0. This result meant that the Indomitable Lions were on their way to South Africa with 45 minutes remaining.
The second half provided Togo with a bit of hope, as the home side began to look more dominant, and in the 71st minute they earned their reward with a goal from Floyd Ayite to make it 1-0.
The final part of the game gave little in the way of entertainment, as both sides seemed ready to settle. Gabon had perhaps been told of the exploits of Cameroon in the other game and they saw very little to play for in the dying minutes of a dry encounter.
Even if Gabon had registered an away win in Togo, they would not have made it to South Africa, as Cameroon won comfortably in their final group match to finish ahead of Alain Giresse’s young side.
The result means that both Gabon and Togo qualify for January’s African Cup of Nations tournament in Angola, with Cameroon coming top of the group and securing their spot amongst the 32 teams going to South Africa for next year’s World Cup. Morocco props up the group in fourth spot after a horrible campaign that they will want to forget.
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