Tue, Jul 16, 2019 - Page 16 News List

Senegal edge Tunisia to set up final against Algeria


Tunisia’s Dylan Bronn, right, scores an own-goal against Senegal in their Africa Cup of Nations semi-final in Cairo, Egypt, on Sunday.

Photo: AFP

Senegal on Sunday reached the Africa Cup of Nations final for the second time with a Dylan Bronn own-goal giving them a 1-0 win over Tunisia in a tense semi-final in Cairo.

With 11 minutes gone in extra-time, goalkeeper Mouez Hassen pushed a free-kick against the head of Bronn and the ball went backward into the net.

Tunisia thought they would have a chance to equalize when Idrissa Gueye handled in the penalty area, but the Ethiopian referee reversed his original decision to award a penalty after watching replays.

Both teams missed penalties in regular-time, with Ferjani Sassi the Tunisia culprit before Henri Saivet failed for Senegal.

Senegal will miss star defender Kalidou Koulibaly for the final after he was yellow-carded.

It was the second caution of the knockout phase for the SSC Napoli centerback and triggered an automatic one-match suspension.

Senegal last reached the title decider 17 years ago, when current coach Aliou Cisse captained a team beaten on penalties by Cameroon in Mali.

“I congratulate [Tunisia and former Senegal coach] Alain Giresse because he left me a good group. He did a good job in Senegal,” Cisse said.

“We were equal to Senegal and had opportunities, but did not know how to transform them,” French legend Giresse said.

Meanwhile, Algeria coach Djamel Belmadi paid tribute to his team’s “great attitude and mental strength” as a stoppage-time free-kick by Riyad Mahrez secured a place in the final.

Mahrez struck with the last kick of the game against Nigeria in Cairo to snatch a 2-1 win for Algeria.

“We knew that it would be a tough game because of the quality of the opponent and because of the tough game we had against Ivory Coast,” said Belmadi, with his side having reached the semi-finals following a penalty shoot-out victory on Thursday last week.

Algeria took the lead just before halftime when William Troost-Ekong bundled into his own net, but Odion Ighalo drew Nigeria level with a penalty on 72 minutes.

“The guys did an amazing first half. We deserved to score the goal and I think we could’ve scored more, but then in the second half I think we had a difficult moment for 15 minutes where we were under pressure,” Belmadi said. “After this penalty, this decision, I think the players showed great attitude and mental strength to come back.”

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