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Togo and Republic of Congo cancel each other out with 1-1 draw in Lomé

FIFA World Cup qualifying Group H foes Togo and the Republic of Congo played out a 1-1 draw on Saturday, keeping either team from making any ground in their hopes of catching up to Senegal and Namibia. An own goal from veteran Togolese midfielder Alaixys Romao opened the scoring before Meme Placca equalized for the hosts in the second half to give Les Éperviers their first point of the campaign while Congo-Brazzaville moved up to two points through three matches.

The Togolese attempted to push early and remain on the front foot, and Hoffenheim forward Ihlas Bebou caused some issues for the Congolese defense before his shot was pushed wide by keeper Christoffer Mafoumbi. However, it was the visiting Red Devils who found themselves on the scoresheet first when some nifty work in the midfield by Yhoan Andzouana set up right back Ravy Tsouka for a cross. There were few attackers in the Togolese area to receive Tsouka’s service, but Romao attempted a clearance that instead turned into a disastrous own goal for the 37-year-old.

Congo was more than content to try and defend their lead on the road and Togo went to work in trying to push and find an equalizer. After halftime the Sparrow Hawks started to make more inroads and their equalizer came in the 56th minute. Youssifou Atte, who plays his club football with WAFA in the Ghana Premier League, found space on the right flank and sent in a cross that bounced through the Congolese penalty area before Placca smashed a shot past Maffoumbi.

At the end of the match, an unusual incident provided an interesting moment before the teams finished deadlocked. In the 84th minute, Congo’s Prestige Mboungou did some excellent work on the right wing and picked out substitute forward Guy Mbenza. Mbenza put his header off the crossbar and collected the rebound before having his rebound attempt blocked by a scrambling defender. The referee ruled for a handball and penalty kick, but after an extended period consulted with his assistant and overruled himself to cancel the awarding of the penalty kick.

Highlights of the match are in the link below.

Highlights from FIFA TV

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