Tunisia oust Ghana from Africa Cup on penalties

AP, CAIRO

Wed, Jul 10, 2019 - Page 16

Tunisia on Monday knocked Ghana out of the Africa Cup of Nations in a penalty shootout, extending the Black Stars’ run of pain at the tournament for at least another two years.

The title drought is 37 years and counting for Ghana, who were eliminated 5-4 in the shootout in Ismailia when striker Caleb Ekuban was the only player to miss.

Goalkeeper Farouk Ben Mustapha was the hero for Tunisia in the last-16 match. He was brought on especially for the shootout and made a match-winning save from Ekuban.

That left Ferjani Sassi to step up and score with the last spot-kick and send Tunisia into a quarter-final against surprise package Madagascar.

Tunisia were on their way to winning in regulation time after Taha Khenissi scored in the 73rd minute. Ghana snatched a dramatic equalizer two minutes into stoppage time when Rami Bedoui headed the ball into his own net straight after coming on as a substitute to make it 1-1.

There were no goals in extra time.

Ghana’s failure means that the star-studded West Africans still have not won the Africa Cup since their fourth title in 1982.

Ghana have lost three finals since then, including on penalties in 2015.

Tunisia were the last team to seal their spot in the quarter-finals in Egypt.

In the quarter-finals, Senegal are to face Benin, Nigeria face South Africa, Ivory Coast face Algeria and Tunisia face Madagascar.

Earlier, Wilfried Zaha’s late goal put Ivory Coast into the last eight with a 1-0 victory over Mali in Suez.

Zaha’s winner in the 76th minute saved Ivory Coast, who had been the second-best team for most of the game.

However, Zaha took his chance when Mali’s players did not. He ran onto a long pass launched from the back and tucked his shot away after Mali’s defense failed to deal with the danger.

Mali had twice as many shots on goal as Ivory Coast, dominated the first half and also finished the game strongest. Mali just could not break through.

Ivory Coast were the 2015 champion and are seeking a third title.

The quarter-finals start today.