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Switzerland send Togo packing

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June 19, 2006 21:07 IST

Switzerland overcame a stiff challenge from World Cup debutants Togo on Monday before ending the African side's hopes with a battling 2-0 win.

After suffering in ferociously hot conditions during their opening 0-0 draw with France, the Swiss still had to work hard with Alex Frei's strike in the 16th minute and Tranquillo Barnetta's 88th minute drive finally dividing the teams.

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Togo, whose players had threatened on Sunday to boycott the match over a long-running internal pay dispute, seemed unhampered by the unorthodox build-up as the game finally got underway.

Aside from Frei's goal, there was little to distinguish the two teams during the first half with Switzerland enjoying plenty of possession but Togo looking the more dangerous on the break.

Just as Switzerland were starting to look shaky, top scorer Frei came to his side's rescue once again, finishing off a well-worked move to claim his 26th international goal.


Right back Ludovic Magnin pressed forward before crossing the ball to Barnetta who deftly flicked a first touch pass across the goalmouth for Frei to turn in.

In the 35th minute, the Arsenal striker Emmanuel Adebayor was involved in the half's most controversial moment when he attempted to swerve around Patrick Mueller in the penalty area before seeming to be caught by the Swiss defender's flailing leg.

To Togo's disgust, the referee ignored their penalty appeals.

It was only when the second half got underway that Switzerland finally started to look worth their lead, with Barnetta, Frei and half-time substitute Hakan Yakin all going close shortly after the re-start.

In the 64th minute Yakin again had an opportunity to double Switzerland's lead but his sizzling shot was well saved by Togo keeper Kossi Agassa.

Barnetta finally made sure of Switzerland's win with two minutes left, latching on to a ball on the right of the Togo box and lashing in a low, accurate drive into the far corner.

Mark Ledsom
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