AFCON 2021: Tunisia stun Nigeria as Burkina Faso beat Gabon on penalties to set up quarterfinal clash
The Eagles of Carthage soared highest over the Super Eagles as Tunisia stunned group stage kings Nigeria 1-0 to reach the quarter final in their Round of 16 clash at the Roumdé Adjia Stadium in Garoua.
After a goalless first half, skipper Youssef Msakni gave Tunisia the lead two minutes after recess beating one defender to find space, and then shot the ball from outside the box as Nigerian goalkeeper Madura Okoye had a touch but failed to keep it out.
The first half was a balanced affair although the Tunisians blocked lots of the Super Eagles wing play making Moses Simon and Samuel Chukwueze ineffective.
Nigeria’s Moses Simon, Wilfred Ndidi and Samuel Chukwueze had all missed chances early in the first five minutes of the game as Tunisia defended well and made sure they dominated more of the possession play.
In the 47th minute, Msakni’s scored the goal that made the difference before Nigeria’s substitute Alexander Iwobi was sent off after 66th minute.
Iwobi had replaced Kelechi Iheanacho in the 59th minute, but his bad tackle on the Tunisian captain Msakni saw him earn an early send-off to the dressing room.
Nigerian goalkeeper Okoye was on hand to punch away a well struck Naim Sliti shot after 74 minutes. Simon Moses also had a chance to level matters for Nigeria, but his freekick from outside the box missed the target with Sadoq Umar also missing the target by inches later on.
Elsewhere, the Stallions of Burkina Faso beat Gabon 7-6 on penalties following a 1-1 draw in regulation time to qualify to the quarter finals of the TotalEnergies Africa Cup of Nations Cameroon 2021.
Substitute Ismahila scored the all important winning penalty to send the Stallions through following a marathon shoot out.
Kanga, Yannis Yapende and Lloyd Palun missed for Gabon while Saidou Simpore and Abdoul Tapsoba failed to score for Burkina Faso.
The last 16 match had everything in it, a missed penalty, two disallowed goals and a sending off.
The Burkinabes started brightly against Panthers winning a penalty inside 13 minutes in the first knockout match of the tournament.
Forward Issa Kabore won the spot kick following a late challenge from Gabon’s Sidney Obissa. Bertrand Traore fired the resulting penalty against the woodwork with keeper beaten.
Later in the game, Traore atoned for his miss as he scored the opener just before the half hour mark to put Burkina Faso ahead with a fine finish from Aboubacar Ouattara’s through ball.
Boupendza found the back of net for Gabon but he was flagged offside before Kouakou Koffi denied Lloyd Palun from distance to give Burkina Faso the advantage at the break.
Gabon were reduced to 10 men after the dismissal of defender Sidney Obissa for a second booking on 65 minutes.
With the numerical advantage Burkina Faso controlled the match creating numerous chances but they failed to take them.
Adama Guira scored an own on the stroke of full time to level the score for Gabon. Captain Bruno Ecuele Manga rose high to head a corner which was turned in by Adama to send the match to extra time.
The 10 men of Gabon battled to take the match into penalties with goalkeeper Jean Noel Amonome producing some brilliant saves to keep out the Stallions.
The Eagles of Carthage of Tunisia who have won the AFCON once in 2004 and will be playing the Stallions of Burkina Faso in the first quarter finals of the TotalEnergies Africa Cup of Nations on Saturday.