Madagascar 0-3 Tunisia
Al Salaam Stadium, Cairo
Tunisia ensured the reached their first Africa Cup of Nations semi final in 15 years after defeating Madagascar on Thursday night.
It was a return to familiar territory for the Eagles of Carthage but an end to a wonderful finals debut for Madagascar who have continuously produced magnificent displays throughout the tournament.
Tunisia who came into the game as favourites had to work for the results as they saw the opening half end goalless.
They however took the lead on 52 minutes as Ferjani Sassi’s deflected effort found the back of the net.
The always reliable Youssef Msakni then bundled in the second after Madagasacar’s custodian Melvin Adrien parried Wahbi Khazri in to the midfielder’s path.
With the game already won, Niam Sliti rubbed salt into the Barea’s wounds, scoring a third late in the game, off a swift counter-attack.
Madagascar will always have its name stamped onto the 32nd edition of African football showpiece as the story of the tournament. Ranked 108th in the work, Barea shocked both Nigeria and DR Congo en route to a last 8 participation.
Against Tunisia, they would always find it difficult against a side that very much have their sights set on a first AFCON triumph since 2014 and Barea finally bowed out to a professional display by the Eagles of Carthage.
Tunisia playmaker Khazri was heavily involved in proceedings throughout and had a free-kick tipped over the bar by Adrien. He then thought he had scored their opener, but it was disallowed correctly for offside.
Tunisia got the breakthrough when Sassi’s shot hit the backside of Thomas Fontaine and flew into the net. And the game was over once Msakni scored.
The underdogs, who never looked like scoring, took risks in a bid to find a way back into the game – and Khazri squared the ball for Sliti to finish off a quick break and seal the win.
The win sees Tunisia reach the semi finals of this year’s competition where they will face Senegal next.
For Madagascar, they are now eliminated but will go back home with their heads held high after upsetting the odds and winning over neutrals on their first ever appearance.
The other quarter final on the day
-Ivory Coast 1(3) – 1(4) Algeria
The other quarter final results
-Senegal 1-0 Benin
-Nigeria 2-1 South Africa