The AFCON quarter-final is done and dusted. Madagascar’s incredible story ended painfully, Ivory Coast were eliminated by Algeria in a thriller while Tunisia made it to their first semi-final appearance since 2004. Here are the Winners and Losers from AFCON quarter-final. Bet on AFCON here.
Algeria continued with their perfect start to the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations campaign after defeating Ivory Coast on penalties. The Desert Foxes and the Elephants played arguably the most entertaining match in this tournament. Despite Baghdad Bounedjah’s penalty miss that could have sealed it for them, Algeria were clicking. The win now sets them up with Nigeria in the semi-final for a mouth-watering match on Sunday.
Benin definitely made it tough for favourites Senegal in the quarters. Aliou Cisse’s men dominated possession but lacked the cutting edge. However, persistence by the Lions of Teranga finally paid dividends with Everton midfielder Idrissa Gueye scoring the winning goal. Now, they will face Tunisia in the semis, which seems like a fairer draw compared to facing the Foxes or the Super Eagles.
Wahbi Khazri & Tunisia
Khazri had a goal disallowed for offside just after half-time but if it had stood, it could’ve been a great goal. Khazri was the cog in Tunisia’s attack and everything they did went through him, either by dropping in to receive the ball, drifting wide, cutting inside, creating chances and shooting. Tunisia won the Africa Cup of Nations in 2004 but since then, they failed to make it past the quarter-finals. They easily dispatched minnows Madagascar and although they’ll face a huge task of beating Senegal in the semis, they have made massive strides this year.
Serey Die and Ivory Coast
Ivory Coast and Algeria served up an entertaining quarter-final encounter with the latter emerging winners on penalties. Wilfried Bony saw his tame penalty saved, but it was Serey Die, the Elephants most experienced player, hit the post with the crucial penalty which sealed it for the Desert Foxes. Ibrahim Kamara’s men have had a good tournament though they would look at the numerous chances they spurned as the final straw.
Carolus Andriamahitsinoro and Madagascar’s fairytale
Carolus Andriamahitsinoro has been a success story at AFCON, grabbing two goals and an assist and playing a key role in getting Madagascar this far. On Thursday, however, his form was non-existent. Andrea had his chances but most of the time took wild swipes at the ball or tried a little bit too much. The Malagasy side, ranked 108th in the world, were the story of their debut tournament. They had to start AFCON qualifying in the preliminary round in March 2017, but went on to stun Nigeria in the group stages last month and then DR Congo in the last 16. Nonetheless, they’ve created a lasting memory for their fans.
Before the tournament kicked off, Bounedjah was listed as one of the players who could win the golden boot. However, the Algerian forward has had a tournament to forget. Against the Ivory Coast, the 27-year-old was unable to add to his one goal at the tournament so far, despite the numerous chances he’s been getting. Bounedjah scored a phenomenal 39 goals in 22 games for Al-Sadd last season but has greatly underwhelmed. On Thursday night he slammed a penalty to the crossbar, a penalty that might have won them the game. His blushes were spared by his team winning on penalties.