TUNISIA beat underdogs Madagascar 3-0 while Algeria defeated Ivory Coast in a penalty shoot-out after a 1-1 draw.
Two North African countries are through to the semi-final stage of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON), with Tunisia ending Madagascar’s fairy-tale run and Algeria beatingIvory Coast in a dramatic penalty shoot-out.
At the quarter-final played on Thursday night in Cairo’s al-Salam Stadium, Tunisia notched their first win of the tournament in 90 minutes in comfortable fashion, defeating rank outsiders Madagascar 3-0.
Madagascar, a country with little football tradition and who had not been expected to progress beyond the group stage on their first AFCON appearance, held out until the second half when they were undone by Ferjani Sassi’s deflected the shot.
Youssef Msakni added a second on the hour for the Carthage Eagles, ranked 25th in the world against Madagascar’s 108th, and substitute Naim Sliti finished it off on the break in stoppage time to earn them a semi-final against Senegal on Sunday.
“Today, the bar was too high, Tunisia was too strong for us, they were a very well-organised team. The result was logical,” Madagascar coach Nicolas Dupuis said.
“I am very proud of the players and what they have done at this tournament, it’s exceptional. I take off my hat to them.”
Tunisia had drawn their previous four matches at the tournament, beating Ghana on penalties in the last 16.
Tunisian defender Yassine Meriah told reporters in a post-match interview that his team was more focused, and deserved the win.
“We had a good game today and won with a wide score,” he said.
“Our spirits were high up, thank God for this win. Today we celebrate, tomorrow we’re back to business, and we have to concentrate a hundred per cent for the next game against Senegal.”