Pre-tournament favourites Ivory Coast get their 2013 African Cup of Nations campaign underway as they take on Togo in South Africa on Tuesday afternoon. The match marks the teams' opening game in Group D of the tournament and it is no surprise to see that the Ivory Coast start as long odds on favourites.
The Ivorians are currently 1/3 on to win the match with Ladbrokes, although they have rarely done things the easy way in this competition and Togo can be backed at 8/1 to cause a shock by winning or 4/1 to draw. It is imperative for Ivory Coast that they get off to a good start this week as they look to finally justify the bookmakers' favouritism.
They have started favourites for each of the last four African Cup of Nations renewals but they have fallen short each time as they have been knocked out at the quarter-final stage once, in the semi-finals twice and most agonisingly in last year's final when they were stunned by Zambia on penalties.
This year's tournament represents a final chance for many of their stellar squad, including six Premier League players, to make their mark on this competition and hand Ivory Coast their first African Nations title since 1992. One man in particular will be desperate to make his mark as former Chelsea striker Didier Drogba is set to make his final appearance in the ACON.
Drogba is currently plying his trade in China with Shanghai, where he has scored eight goals in 11 league games, and the big striker is familiar with fairytale goodbyes. Drogba went out in a blaze of glory from Chelsea last year as he helped them win the Champions League and he will be looking to do something similar for his country in South Africa. Drogba, who has scored 56 goals in 89 international appearances, dominates the goalscorer betting markets for Tuesday as he is 11/4 favourite to score first and he is as short as 8/1 to score a hat-trick.
Drogba will be keen for his side to make up for last year's disappointing defeat to Zambia and they have responded in impressive fashion by going on a seven-match unbeaten run. They qualified for this tournament with victory over Senegal, although the second leg of their qualifying tie was abandoned due to riots.
They have only kept one clean sheet in their last five though and both teams to score looks a decent punt at 7/4 in the latest betting with Ladbrokes. There looks to be the potential for a few goals as an exciting Ivory Coast line-up take on a shaky looking Togo defence and over 3.5 goals is an 11/4 punt. Togo make their much-anticipated return after a two-year absence and they aren't short of attacking talent in their current squad either.
They endured a tough build-up to this event but Emmanuel Adebayor, who is their all-time top scorer with 26 goals, has been convinced to take his place in South Africa. The Tottenham striker is 10/1 to score first this week and he will bid to help his side extend a run that has seen them lose just one of their last six, albeit against limited opposition.
Togo might find that they come up short against an Ivory Coast side with a point to prove and the tournament favourites are fancied to get off to a winning start. Ivory Coast are 10/11 to win with a -1 goal handicap as Drogba looks to begin his farewell in style.
Ivory Coast v Togo Tips
Tip #1: Over 3.5 goals @ 11/4 with Ladbrokes.
Tip #2: Both teams to score @ 7/4 with Ladbrokes.
Tip #3: Emmanuel Adebayor to score first each-way @ 10/1 with Ladbrokes.
1/3 Ivory Coast
Correct Score Odds
7/2 Ivory Coast 1-0
7/2 Ivory Coast 2-0
9/1 Ivory Coast 2-1
7/1 Draw 0-0
9/1 Draw 1-1
28/1 Draw 2-2
18/1 Togo 1-0
50/1 Togo 2-0
28/1 Togo 2-1
First Goalscorer Odds
11/4 Didier Drogba
4/1 Arouna Kone
9/2 Lacina Traore
9/2 Salomon Kalou
9/2 Wilfried Bony
11/2 Didier Konan
6/1 Yaya Toure
7/1 Max Gradel
7/1 No Goalscorer
10/1 Emmanuel Adebayor
Odds supplied by Ladbrokes.com, who provide live in-play betting for all African Nations Cup matches.
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