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.

Caption

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.


Algeria sink Senegal in fiery final to claim second Africa Cup of Nations

Updated 20 July 2019
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Algeria sink Senegal in fiery final to claim second Africa Cup of Nations

CAIRO: Baghdad Bounedjah’s early goal propelled Algeria to a first Africa Cup of Nations title in 29 years after a fiery 1-0 victory over Sadio Mane’s Senegal in Friday’s final in Cairo.
Bounedjah gave Algeria a dream start in the second minute when his deflected shot looped over Senegal goalkeeper Alfred Gomis, and it proved enough for the 1990 champions to lift the trophy on foreign soil for the first time.
For Senegal, who lost to Algeria by the same scoreline in the group stage, the long wait for a first continental crown goes on as coach Aliou Cisse, the captain of the 2002 runners-up, again fell short in the final.
It was the first title-decider to feature two African coaches since 1998, with Algeria boss Djamel Belmadi completing a whirlwind 12 months at the helm after inheriting a side that failed to make it out of the group stage two years ago.
With defensive rock Kalidou Koulibaly suspended for Senegal, Salif Sane deputised at the back and Ismaila Sarr was recalled in attack, while Belmadi kept faith in the same side that overcame Nigeria with an injury-time free-kick from Riyad Mahrez.
Senegal had understandably feared the absence of Napoli star Koulibaly, banned after two bookings in the knockout rounds, although the towering Sane was desperately unlucky as Algeria grabbed the lead with scarcely a minute played.
As Bounedjah took aim from 20 yards his effort smacked off Sane and arced high into the air before dropping underneath the crossbar and beyond a static Gomis, sparking delirious celebrations from both players and fans, some of whom arrived for the final on military planes provided by the Algerian government.
It was the first time Gomis had conceded in almost 400 minutes in Egypt having replaced the injured Edouard Mendy ahead of Senegal’s final group game.
Henri Saivet, who missed a penalty in the 1-0 victory over Tunisia, tried to catch Rais Mbohli out with a free-kick while Mbaye Niang fizzed a powerful drive just over as Senegal gradually showed signs of life before the half ended with both sets of players embroiled in a scuffle as they headed for the tunnel.
Senegal thought they had won a penalty on the hour when Cameroonian referee Alioum Alioum pointed to the spot for a suspected handball by Adlene Guedioura, but the official reversed his decision after a VAR review.
Niang rounded an advancing Mbohli after a searching ball through from Cheikhou Kouyate but the forward sliced wide of the target from a tough angle, with the Algeria ‘keeper then acrobatically tipping over a rasping drive from Youssouf Sabaly.
The Desert Foxes started to look jaded as Senegal brought on fresh legs in Krepin Diatta and Mbaye Diagne, but Youcef Belaili nearly made it 2-0 when his cross brushed the head of a defender and skimmed the roof of the net.
Sarr blazed over on the volley as Algeria clung on to their advantage in the closing minutes, the final whistle greeted by an outpouring of raw emotion as the North Africans emerged worthy winners of the expanded 24-team event.