2013 Africa Cup of Nations (Group D)
Teams: Côte d'Ivoire 2-1 Togo
Venue: Royal Bafokeng Stadium
Title contenders Côte d'Ivoire edged Togo 2-1 in their 2013 Africa Cup of Nations opener in Rustenburg on Tuesday.
In a hard-fought tie, Gervinho netted an 88th minute winner after Jonathan Ayite cancelled out Yaya Toure's early opener for the Ivorians at a desolate Royal Bafokeng Stadium.
Group D rivals Tunisia and Algeria will meet at the same venue this evening.
Togo started proceedings brightly, and should have scored two minutes in. Tottenham Hotspur forward Emmanuel Adebayor pounced on a defensive lapse from Kolo Toure but then failed to beat Boubacar Barry in a one-on-one situation, with the goalkeeper making a fine save from close range.
The Elephants, losing finalists to Zambia on penalties last year, hit back with interest soon after through Manchester City star Toure. The African Footballer of the Year drilled the ball home, albeit with help from a slight deflection, from inside the area following good work from Arsenal attacker Gervinho down the right.
Y. Toure nearly struck again in the 44th minute but his powerful shot was foiled by the woodwork.
Ayite then drew level moments later when he swept in a low corner.
Didier Ya Konan threatened early in the second period, as his powerful strike was well gathered by Kossi Agassa.
Togo then looked to have nudged ahead in the 59th minute, when Dare Nibombe headed in a corner. The effort, though, was disallowed for an infringement.
Sabri Lamouchi's men dominated possession in the latter stages but struggled to make it count, with the Toure brothers both denied by sharp stops from Agassa.
However, Gervinho sniped the points with two minutes to go when he steered in Y. Toure's telling free-kick to the far post.
Goalkeeper Barry then made a crucial save to keep out Vincent Bossou's diving header in stoppage time to ensure his team emerged victorious.
Côte d'Ivoire: Boubacar Barry, Emmanuel Eboue, Didier Zokora, Kolo Toure, Sol Bamba, Siaka Tiene, Max Gradel (Kalou 59'), Didier Ya Konan (Tiote 63'), Yaya Toure, Gervinho, Didier Drogba (Bony 74').
Togo: Agassi Kossi, Dare Nibombe, Serge Akakpo, Abdul Mamah, Komlan Amewou, Vincent Bossou, Jonathan Ayite (Segbefia 78'), Alaixys Ramao, Serge Gakpe (F. Ayite 61'), Dakonam Djeni, Emmanuel Adebayor.
Goals: Yaya Toure (Côte d'Ivoire 8'), Jonathan Ayite (Togo 45'), Gervinho (Côte d'Ivoire 88').