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AFCON wrap: Algeria, Tunisia complete semifinalists

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Sunday’s Africa Cup of Nations semifinals are set for Cairo, as Tunisia will meet Senegal and Algeria tangles with Nigeria.

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All but Senegal have won AFCON crowns, though Nigeria is the only one to claim the honors in the last seven tournaments.

Madagascar 0-3 Tunisia

A two-goal burst from Ferjani Sassi and Youssef Mskani by the hour mark prodded Tunisia past the surprising Barea.

Naimi Sliti scored deep into stoppage time to complete the score line, which ends Madagascar’s first AFCON with three wins (one by penalties), a draw, and this loss.

Tunisia last won AFCON in 2004.

Algeria 1-1 (4-3 pens) Ivory Coast

Sofiane Feghouli gave Algeira a first half lead, but Jonathan Kodija (Aston Villa) answered at the hour mark for the only goals of regulation.

Youcef Belaïli smashed the post with his bid to score the winning penalty, but Les Elephants could not take advantage of the opening. Serey Die his the same post with similar vigor and Algeria moved to within two wins of its title and final since 1990.

AFCON quarterfinals, Live: Ivory Coast v. Algeria, Madagascar v. Tunisia

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Two huge quarterfinals take place at the Africa Cup of Nations on Thursday, as some heavyweight semifinals clashes are about to be set up.

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Ivory Coast and Algeria clash in Suez as Premier League wing-wizards Riyad Mahrez and Wilfried Zaha go head-to-head. For many, this would be a spectacular final, so plenty is expected as the winner of this massive clash will play against Nigeria on Sunday.

In Thursday’s other quarterfinal surprise package Madagascar take on Tunisia, with the latter favored to advance. However, the Barea have already finished top of their group at the tournament this summer and knocked out DR Congo on penalty kicks in the Round of 16. Beware, Tunisia. Whoever wins this clash will face Sadio Mane’s Senegal in the semfinals.

Below is the full schedule for the AFCON action on Thursday, while you can follow all of the action live by clicking on the link above.


2019 Africa Cup of Nations schedule – Thursday, July 11

Quarterfinals
Ivory Coast. Algeria – 12 p.m. ET
Madagascar v. Tunisia – 3 p.m. ET

AFCON Wrap: Zaha wins it for Ivory Coast

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The Wilfried Zaha to Arsenal rumors will continue for another few days, because the Premier League star isn’t done having his say at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations.

[READ: Transfer Rumor Roundup]

Zaha followed a long ball forward and latched onto it just before Mali goalkeeper Djigui Diarra could get off his line, as Zaha finished past Diarra to lead the Ivory Coast to a 1-0 win over Mali, on Monday in Egypt. With the win, the Ivory Coast advances to quarterfinals, where it will face Algeria on Thursday. Algeria beat Guinea, 3-0, on Sunday.

It was a match of numerous missed chances. Mali’s Moussa Marenga and Youssouf Kone had multiple chances they skied over the bar, and in one case, Kone had a shot saved by Ivory Coast’s Sylvain Gbohouo. In the second half, Jonathan Kodjia of Ivory Coast and Adama Traore of Mali traded chances, but few shots were placed on target as both teams looked set to go to penalty kicks. Of the ones that were on target, most were tame efforts, with both team’s defenses nullifying any clear chances in the box.

Ultimately, it was the long ball that Zaha was quickest to on the second phase after an initial header, finishing into an open net and running towards his bench in elation after scoring.

Elsewhere, Tunisia stunned Ghana, winning 5-4 on penalty kicks. Tunisia advances to play Cinderella Madagascar on Thursday in the quarterfinals.

AFCON wrap: Mane brace, Zaha goal help favorites Senegal and Ivory Coast to victory

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It was a great day to be a favorite in the Africa Cup of Nations on Monday, as all four countries expected to move on clinched berths in the knockout stage.

In the early pair of kickoffs, Ivory Coast stormed Namibia 4-1 while Morocco needed a late goal to top South Africa 1-0. The late kicks saw Algeria blitz Tanzania 3-0 with a strong first half and Senegal topped Kenya 2-0.

Wilfried Zaha got his first goal of the tournament in the win for the Ivory Coast, sealing the game with a low line drive in the 84th minute to make it 3-1 before Maxwel Cornet finished off the scoring five minutes later. Former Bournemouth winger Max Gradel opened the scoring 39 minutes in with a blast from a tight angle with the only goal of the first half, while Basel midfielder Serey Die put them 2-0 up near the hour mark. Namibia made it 2-1 with 19 minutes to go but Zaha’s goal finished off the game.

While that saw the Ivory Coast seal a knockout spot, Morocco got a late goal to pip South Africa, earning the top spot in Group D and dooming South Africa to a perilous position among the third-place table. M’bark Boussoufa scored the all-important goal in the 90th minute, poking home amid a scrum on a free-kick delivered into the box from the left flank.

In Group C action, Algeria made it three wins in three after a trio of first-half goals eased them through past Tanzania, eliminating the minnows in just their second-ever tournament. Leicester City striker Islam Slimani opened the scoring in the 34th minute, and Algeria got a brace from young Napoli winger Adam Ounas to put them up big at the break. Slimani’s came on a brilliant long-ball over the top from Ounas who split the center-backs perfectly and allowed the Foxes striker to finish it off cooly past Metacha Mnata. Ounas scored his first five minutes later on a fabulous one-two with Slimani, while his second and Algeria’s third found the back of the net with the last kick of the game on the break as Ounas whizzed past Tanzania defender Mohamed Husseini before rounding Mnata with a touch from his right.

With Algeria on top, Senegal finished second by taking down Kenya 3-0 behind a brace from Sadio Mane. After a scoreless first half that saw Mane miss from the penalty spot, Stade Rennais youngster Ismaila Sarr put Senegal ahead with a wonderful volley after Kenya goalkeeper Patrick Matasi whiffed on a cross and left the goal gaping. With the 1-0 lead and a half-hour to go, Mane took control and grabbed his first by latching onto a blasted clearance by Lamine Gassama who just booted the ball out into the attacking half where just Mane was patrolling, and he raced right between the pair of defenders for a fastbreak finish. He grabbed his second on a penalty in the 78th minute, making amends for earlier by burying his spot-kick in the low right-hand corner, and while Matasi guessed right he came up just short.

At this stage in the competition, there is just one more round of games tomorrow before the knockout stage is set. Teams confirmed through via the group stage are Egypt, Uganda, Madagascar, Nigeria, Algeria, Senegal, Morocco, and Ivory Coast while Guinea and Democratic Republic of Congo are both already assured of a spot via the third-place table. Groups E and F will wrap up on Tuesday as Mali and Cameroon are in the pole positions with Tunisia, Angola, Mauritania, Ghana, Benin, and Guinea-Bissau all in the hunt.

LIVE, Africa Cup of Nations: Morocco v. Ivory Coast; Tunisia in action

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The group stage of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations has reached an intriguing stage, as plenty of teams begin to punch their tickets in the Round of 16.

[ LIVE: Africa Cup of Nations scores ]

With the 24-team format allowing the top four third-place teams to also advance, there is still so much to play for across these group games.

In Group D two giants collide as Morocco face the Ivory Coast with Aston Villa’s Jonathan Kodjia (who scored their winner against South Africa earlier this week) and Crystal Palace’s Wiflried Zaha the leading men for the Elephants, while Southampton’s Sofiane Boufal played well for the Atlas Lions in their win against Namibia. South Africa and Namibia then face off in Group D and both teams lost their opening games, so a win here would be huge for their hopes of getting out of the group.

Group E sees Tunisia and Mali collide, with the latter top of the group and Tunisia in desperate need of a win after drawing their opening group game against Angola. Southampton’s new signing Moussa Djenepo is one of Mali’s key players, and Tunisia will be wary of his dribbling ability on the break.

Below is the full schedule for the AFCON action on Friday, while you can follow all of the action live by clicking on the link above.


2019 Africa Cup of Nations schedule – Friday, June 28

Group D
Morocco v. Ivory Coast – 1 p.m. ET
South Africa v. Namibia – 4 p.m. ET

Group E
Tunisia v. Mali – 10:30 a.m. ET