It was a nerve-wracking encounter on Saturday when the Hawks of Togo clashed with the Indomitable Lions of Cameroon in a Group A game of the Africa Nations/World Cup qualifiers at the Ohene Djan Stadium in Accra.
In the end however, Togo had to count on the predating instincts of Arsenal striker, Emmanuel Sheyi Adebayor, who scored the only goal of the match to give the home side the maximum three points.The Hawks chose to play their home matches in Accra because they were serving a CAF ban, due to fan violence; and what a home ground the Accra stadium proved to be.
With tens of thousands of fans cheering them on, the Togolese carried the game to their opponent's right from the get-go, but Adebayor's connecting header failed to beat the Cameroonian goalkeeper, Kameni in the opening minutes of the game.
Since the Indomitable Lions seemed to have captured the midfield, Togo could do no more than rely on counter attacks, which indeed worked to perfection.
On one such fast breaks in the 11th minute, Adebayor beat the defensive pair of Bikey and Song, to a cross from the right, and shot the ball past Kameni into the net.
Samuel Eto'o, Mbami and Webo tried to get on the score sheet, but all their efforts were in vain, as they could not go past the solid Togolese defence. Eto'o in particular showed flashes of brilliance in the first 45 minutes of the game; but in the second half, every move he made was check-mated by the Togolese defence.
Goalkeeper Kodjovi of Togo was also in a class of his own, making breath-taking saves, to the delight of the home fans.
Togo got the opportunity to grab a second goal in the dying embers of the game when tormentor-in-chief Adebayor was fouled by Geremi Njitap in the 18-yard box.
But the Arsenal striker shot wide from the spot kick. This blunder notwithstanding, Togo walked away with the three points, with scores standing at 1-0 in their favour at the end of proceedings.
The win gives Togo hope of emulating their achievement of qualifying for the World Cup in 2006, but defeat for Cameroon leaves the Indomitable Lions with much ground to make up.
Group winners go will go to both the World and Nations Cups in South Africa and Angola, whilst second and third placed teams will qualify for Angola only.