Madagascar vs Tunisia
Al Salaam Stadium, Cairo
Thursday, 11-07-2019 @10pm
Like at every major tournament, there is a side that defies the odds as they surpass everyone’s expectations including theirs.
At the ongoing 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) in Egypt, it is Madagascar, a side that is ranked 108th in the world and 25 in Africa.
The Barea are currently living a dream, one they can be forgiven for not wanting to wake up from.
Pitted in a group that featured the likes of Nigeria, Guinea and Burundi, no one would have predicted what was to happen as Madagascar ended it as leaders without losing a single game and defeating the Super Eagles 2-0 in their last game.
Madagascar progressed to the quarter-finals after beating DR. Congo on penalties following a 2-2 draw in regulation time. They took the lead twice through Ibrahim Amada and Faneva Andriatsima but were pegged back on both occasions.
Madagascar have shown plenty of quality in attack but could struggle to break down one of the best defences at the AFCON.
Carolus Andriamatsinoro and Faneva Andriatsima should find things difficult against Tunisia.
With three consecutive draws in the group stages and a win coming on penalties after extra time in the round of sixteen, it is a miracle that Tunisia’s campaign is still alive, kicking and into the next round.
Nevertheless, the clash with Madagascar on Thursday will be the third straight time that they have managed to make into the quarterfinals of the Africa Cup of Nations.
Their previous round fixture against Ghana saw them create a huge upset for the latter after the scores were tied at 1-1 at the end of regulation and extra time.
Alain Giresse’s men broke the deadlock through Khenissi in the 73rd minute and it would have sealed them the game, had it not been for an own goal by Bedoui in the dying minutes of stoppage time.
His side had their skins saved by their goalkeeper after Ekuban failed to win the battle of nerves as he stepped up to take the spot kick.
Madagascar are not expected to make too many changes to the team that faced DR. Congo with Ibrahim Amada and Faneva Andriatsima set to start following their goals last time out. Team top scorer Carolus Andriamatsinoro failed to find the net in the Round of 16 but should retain his place in attack.
Yassine Meriah and Dylan Bronn have impressed for the Tunisians and both men should continue their partnership in central defence. Taha Yassine Khenissi and Youssef Msakni have also been in good form and should retain their place in attack.
The teams have met each other twice before.
Madagascar are yet to register a win against this side.
Their last encounter, which was in 2001, finished 2-0 in favor of Tunisia.
Tunisia have not failed to score in any of their previous h2h clashes.
The other game on Thursday
-Ivory Coast vs Algeria @7pm
-Senegal 1-0 Benin
-Nigeria 2-1 South Africa