Sun, Feb 27, 2011 - Page 18 News List

Tunisia lift Nations Championship, end seven-year drought

AFP, JOHANNESBURG

Tunisia players celebrate after defeating Angola 3-0 to win the African Nations Championship final in Khartoum, Sudan, on Friday.

Photo: Reuters

Tunisia ended a seven-year trophy drought on Friday when they outclassed Angola 3-0 in Sudan to lift the African Nations Championship.

Midfielder Mejdi Traoui put the North Africans ahead just after halftime in hot and humid Omdurman, striker Zouhaier Dhaouiadi struck the second and substitute Oussama Darragi completed the scoring 10 minutes from time.

The teams drew 1-1 in the group stage 18 days ago, but this time there was no mistaking the superiority of Tunisia against opponents who relied on a lone striker and rarely troubled goalkeeper and captain Aymen Mathlouthi.

Tunisia coach Sami Trabelsi dedicated the triumph to his countrymen who toppled dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali last month.

It was the first Pan-African success for the small country sandwiched between Algeria and crisis-torn Libya since they hosted and lifted the 2004 Africa Cup of Nations.

The Cup of Nations is open to all African players, while the Nations Championship is restricted to those based at home. Among the teams Tunisia defeated en route to glory were title holders the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Dhaouiadi created the first goal on 47 minutes with a superb cross that left Traoui with the simplest of tasks to stick out a foot and steer the ball past Angola goalkeeper Luis “Lama” Joao.

Angola never stopped trying, but could not find a way through the Tunisia rearguard and a rapid counterattack led to the second goal from Dhaouiadi on 74 minutes.

Darragi had been on the al-Merreikh Stadium pitch for only three minutes as a replacement for the old man of the Tunisia side, 34-year-old Adel Chedli, when he stabbed the ball past Joao.

Mudathir Eltaib scored his third goal of the championship eight minutes before halftime to give Sudan a 1-0 victory over Algeria in the third-place playoff that preceded the final. Mohamed al-Basha did the spadework by dribbling his way through the visitors defense, before passing to Eltaib, whose shot gave goalkeeper Cedric Si Mohammed no chance.

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