The David vs Goliath element of this game was pretty evident in the build-up, and truth be told, it certainly added something to the dynamic of the game. Madagascar came into this knowing that anything they achieve from this point on is a bonus, and in the end, they were outclassed by a far superior Tunisia side who were able to book their place in the semi-finals of the Africa Cup of Nations.
It’s the first time that Tunisia have qualified for the semi-finals since way back in 2004, and they certainly deserved it. Throughout the course of the first half the game was quite even in terms of possession, but from a quality standpoint, it was obvious to see that Tunisia were just on a whole other level entirely.
They were finally able to find a breakthrough less than 10 minutes after half time, as Ferjani Sassi’s deflected effort put them into the lead to finally break Madagascar’s stubborn resistance. Msakni was the man to double their advantage, before an injury time goal from Naim Sliti sealed the deal as the underdogs continued to pour forward until the final moments.
A professional performance
The star man, in many respects, was Wahbi Khazri who really did lead from the front for his nation. He has been viewed as their shining light for quite some time now, and on the biggest stage, he was able to help his team deliver. Everything in the game that Tunisia were doing ran through him, to the point where it seemed as if he was in a completely different class to literally everyone else on the pitch.
The focus for Tunisia will now turn towards their semi-final against Senegal, but beyond that, the real story here is still the miraculous run of Madagascar. They were considered to be the ultimate minnows in what was their first appearance at the Africa Cup of Nations, but now, they’ve been able to inspire an entire generation. They’ll look ahead to the 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers with no fear now, and they’ll also hope to make an impact at the next AFCON. Either way, we certainly aren’t going to doubt them.
Madagascar: Melvin (6.5), Mombris (6), Fontaine (6), Razakanantenaina (6), Metanire (6), Amada (6.5), Andrianantenaina (6.5), Ilaimaharitra (6), Andriamahitsinoro (6), Andriatsima (6), Nomenjanahary (6), Voavy (6), Rakotoharimalala (6.5), Morel (6)
Tunisia: Hassen (6.5), Kechrida (7), Bronn (7), Meriah (7.5), Haddadi (7), Chaalali (7), Skhiri (7), Sassi (8), Khazri (9), Khenissi (7.5), Msakni (8.5), Sliti (7), Drager (6), Aouadhi (6.5)
Referee: Néant Alioum
Goals: Sassi, Msakni, Sliti
Yellow Cards: Andrianantenaina
Red Cards: N/A
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