Madagascar’s dream over, Tunisia and Algeria into Africa Cup of Nations semis

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Tunisia's midfielder Youssef Msakni (1st-L) scores a goal during the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (CAN) quarter final football match between Madagascar and Tunisia at the Al Salam stadium in Cairo on July 11, 2019. (AFP / JAVIER SORIANO)
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Ivory Coast's Max Gradel in action with Algeria's Adlene Guedioura and Aissa Mandi at the Suez Stadium in Suez, Egypt, on July 11, 2019. (REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany)
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Tunisia's Naim Sliti scores during the African Cup of Nations quarterfinal soccer match between Madagascar and Tunisia in Al Salam stadium in Cairo, Egypt, on July 11, 2019. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)
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Algeria's Baghdad Bounedjah in action with Ivory Coast's Ibrahim Sangare at the Suez Stadium in Suez, Egypt, on July 11, 2019. (REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany)
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Algeria's Adlene Guedioura in action with Ivory Coast's Wilfried Bony at the Suez Stadium in Suez, Egypt, on July 11, 2019. (REUTERS/Suhaib Salem)
Updated 12 July 2019
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Madagascar’s dream over, Tunisia and Algeria into Africa Cup of Nations semis

  • Tunisia will face Senegal in the semifinals in Cairo
  • Algeria and Nigeria play in the other semi

CAIRO: Madagascar’s fairy tale came to an end at the African Cup of Nations as the underdog was beaten 3-0 by Tunisia in the quarterfinals on Thursday.
Tunisia scored twice in eight minutes after halftime, and again in injury time. The North Africans controlled the game completely.
That set up a semifinal for Tunisia against Senegal and finally sent Madagascar, which was playing in its first major tournament, home.
Ferjani Sassi claimed the opener in the 52nd minute, helped by a big deflection off the backside of Madagascar defender Thomas Fontaine. Tunisia captain Youssef Msakni pounced on a rebound to make it 2-0.
Naim Sliti scored a third on a Tunisian breakaway deep in injury time as the Madagascans piled forward in search of something to give them hope.
Tunisia now faces Sadio Mane and the tournament favorite in the last four. Algeria and Nigeria play in the other semi. Both matches are on Sunday.
The Algerians blew a 1-0 lead and a penalty in regulation time before scraping past Ivory Coast in a dramatic shootout in their quarterfinal.
Tunisia deserved its win at Al Salam Stadium on the outskirts of Cairo, where Madagascar was hoping to continue a dream debut by making the last four.
It didn’t happen, but the African Cup first-timer it lit up the early parts of the tournament by stunning three-time champion Nigeria 2-0 in the group stage and getting past Congo, another former champion, in the last 16.

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It was a surprise that Madagascar — ranked 108th by FIFA, just behind the Faroe Islands — even qualified for the tournament in Egypt. It ended up topping its group above Nigeria and making the last eight, and it also brought the Barea celebration to the world.
The team takes its nickname from a breed of cattle found in Madagascar, and the players celebrated each of their goals at the African Cup by putting their hands on either side of their heads and pointing their fingers up in the air like horns.
They had their country’s president and the African soccer body president, who is also from Madagascar, at Al Salam Stadium to cheer them on.
In Suez, the tense shootout between Algeria and Ivory Coast, which Algeria won 4-3, capped a pulsating quarterfinal that went end to end.
Wilfried Bony had his penalty saved in the shootout by Rais Mbolhi to give Algeria the advantage. But Youcef Belaili hit the post with a spot kick that would have won it for the Algerians.
Straight after, Ivory Coast captain Serey Die had to score to send the shootout to sudden death, and he cannoned his penalty off the same post to finally seal victory for the Algerians.
Die fell back flat on his back and put his hands over his face after his miss as the Algerians sprinted to the end of the field to celebrate with Mbolhi.
Algeria led in regulation after Sofiane Feghouli’s goal in the 20th minute. Striker Baghdad Bounedjah missed a penalty for Algeria soon after halftime, and Jonathan Kodjia equalized for Ivory Coast.
Bounedjah won the penalty himself when he was taken out by Ivory Coast goalkeeper Sylvain Gbohouo. With the chance to give Algeria a 2-0 lead, he hit his penalty high down the middle, and it clipped the crossbar and went over.
Ivory Coast took advantage.
Wilfried Zaha made a surging run and found Kodjia on the right. He cut in and put his shot in the bottom corner.
Bounedjah was substituted in the second half and spent the rest of the game in tears on the bench, fearing his miss had cost Algeria a place in the last four.
It didn’t, and Algeria still has the chance to win its second African title and first since 1990.


Russian boxer Maxim Dadashev dies after fight against Subriel Matias

Updated 23 July 2019
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Russian boxer Maxim Dadashev dies after fight against Subriel Matias

  • Doctors operated to relieve pressure from swelling on his brain
  • Dadashev, known as “Mad Max,” was unable to walk to the dressing room and was immediately hospitalized

MOSCOW: Russian boxer Maxim Dadashev has died from brain injuries sustained in a fight in Maryland, the Russian boxing federation announced on Tuesday.
“Maxim Dadashev has died in the United States following injuries sustained during his fight with Subriel Matias,” the federation said in a statement.
The 28-year-old underwent emergency brain surgery in Washington after his super-lightweight bout with Puerto Rican Matias on Friday was stopped after the 11th round by his cornerman James “Buddy” McGirt.
Dadashev, known as “Mad Max,” was unable to walk to the dressing room and was immediately hospitalized.
Doctors operated to relieve pressure from swelling on his brain.
McGirt, who said after the fight he “couldn’t convince” his fighter to stop but opted to throw in the towel when he saw him “getting hit with more and more clean shots as the fight went on,” told ESPN on Tuesday he was wracking his brain wondering if he could have done things differently.
“It just makes you realize what type of sport we’re in, man,” McGirt told ESPN — which streamed the fight on its ESPN+ platform.
“He did everything right in training, no problems, no nothing. My mind is like really running crazy, right now. Like what could I have done differently? But at the end of the day, everything was fine (in training).
“He seemed OK, he was ready, but it’s the sport that we’re in. It just takes one punch, man.”
Russian boxing chief Umar Kremlev told Russian media that Dadashev’s body would be repatriated home and that his family would receive financial aid.
Dadashev’s widow, Elizaveta Apushkina, also issued a statement, confirming the fighter’s death “with great sadness.”
She said: “He was a very kind person who fought until the very end. Our son will continue be raised to be a great man like his father,” she said of the St. Petersburg-born fighter who trained in Oxnard, California.
Dadashev took an unbeaten 13-0 record into the 140-pound non-title fight.
Dadashev, whose manager Egis Klimas also handles Vasiliy Lomachenko and Sergey Kovalev, turned pro in April of 2016 and relocated to Southern California to pursue his ring ambitions, eventually signing with promoters Top Rank.
Top Rank chairman Bob Arum issued a statement recalling Dadashev as “a terrific young man.”
ESPN, which streamed the bout on ESPN+, also issued a statement.
“Our heartfelt thoughts are with Dadashev’s family, friends, trainers and the team at Top Rank,” the statement said.
Dadashev was rated in the top five by two world sanctioning organizations going into Friday’s fight in suburban Washington DC, an elimination bout for the right to become mandatory challenger for Josh Taylor’s IBF title.
Matias dominated, and after the 11th round McGirt could be heard telling Dadashev “I’m going to stop it, Max,” even as Dadashev shook his head.
McGirt, himself a former two-weight world champion, then told the referee: “That’s it.”