AFCON2019: Tunisia edge Ghana on penalties to book last 8 berth

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Tunisia booked the final quarterfinal slot at the ongoing Africa Cup Of Nations with a 5-4 penalty win over Ghana. The match had ended 1-1 in normal and extra time.

Ghana was the better side right from the start and pinned Tunisia into their own half for most of the first half. Atletico Madrid midfielder Thomas Partey flashed a shot just over the bar from 18 yards out.

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The Black Stars had the ball in the back of the net but the referee ruled it out for offside. The Ayew brothers had combined in a brilliant move that also involved Thomas Partey. Jordan Ayew’s pass to his elder brother Andre was a little behind but the Swansea man showed great improvisation to backheel the ball into the back of the net.

The match referee however adjudged Partey to have handed the ball earlier in the move and called it off when replays showed the decision to be completely wrong. It brings into sharp focus CAF’s decision to introduce Video Assistant Referee (VAR) technology once the tournament reaches the quarter-final stage.

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The North Africans, however, rediscovered their form and took hold of the match in the second half. Tunisia went ahead in the 73r minute through Taha Yassine Khenissi after very good play from the right back Wajdi Kechrida.

Ghana was almost level five minutes later but Jordan Ayew’s goal-bound shot was spectacularly kept out by Mouez Hassen in the Tunisia goal. There was a late, late twist to the drama as Tunisia substitute Rami Bedoui inexplicably headed the ball into his own net from a Ghanian freekick in the 93rd minute!

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There was no separating the two in extra time forcing the match into penalties. Ghana’s Caleb Ekuban missed the third spot-kick handing the North Africans the initiative. It was a chance Tunisia would take with both hands and converted all their kicks to book a slot in the quarterfinals.

Tunisia now joins, Ivory Coast, South Africa, Algeria, Benin, Madagascar, Nigeria and Senegal in the last 8. The quarterfinal matches will be played from Thursday.

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