Africa Cup Of Nations Semi-Final
Teams: Senegal 1-0 Tunisia
Date: 14 July 2019
Venue: 30 June Air Defence Stadium
Senegal progressed to the final of the Africa Cup Of Nations for only the second time in their history after sinking Tunisia 1-0 in extra-time on Sunday evening at 30 June Air Defence Stadium.
Aliou Cisse made only one change to the side that knocked out Benin in the quarter-finals, as Krepin Diatta’s came in at the expense of Keita Balde. Meanwhile, the Carthage Eagles made two alterations from their win over Madagascar, as midfielder Ayman Ben Mohamed and right full-back Mohamed Drager came to the fold.
The Lions of Teranga controlled the tempo of the match in the early stages with their attacking play, but they nearly went a goal down in the 22nd minute after Youssef Msakni's header at the near post sailed just over the bar, while Tunisia's Youssouf Sabaly rattled the woodwork four minutes later.
Cisse’s charges increased their intensity going forward and were unlucky to head in to the break without finding the breakthrough as M’Baye Niang and Sadio Mane both missed glorious opportunities in the closing stages, most notably the latter who fired wide after rounding the Tunisian goalkeeper.
Tunisia came back spirited from the halftime break as Taha Khenissi had a great chance to draw first blood three minutes inside the second stanza, but his looping half-volley sailed over the crossbar with with only shot-stopper Alfred Gomis.
There was drama in the 73rd minute as Ferjani Sassi’s strike from just outside the box hit Kalidou Koulibaly on his elbow inside the box and Tunisia were awarded a penalty, with the Video Assistant Referee upholding the on-field decision. However, Sassi failed to capitalise for the Carthage Eagles as he struck a weak penalty that was smothered by Gomis..
The drama continued with 12 minutes remaining after Senegal were awarded a penalty of their own after Ismaila Sarr was brought down inside the box. Henri Saivet stepped up to take the spot-kick but his effort was heroically parried away by Hassen.
The writing was on the wall in the closing stages for extra-time, as the sides lacked the killer-instinct, even from the spot-kicks to get on the scoresheet but Saivet nearly redeemed himself and found the winner for the West African side with a snap-shot on the blindside inside the box that hit the side-netting. In the end the sides could not be separated and eventually went to extra-time.
The deadlock was finally broken ten minutes inside the first period of extra-time as Lamine Gassama delivered a free-kick deep inside the area that Hassen deflected onto the body of Tunisia's Dylan Bronn and ricocheted towards the back of the empty net, giving Senegal the lead.
Controversy continued in the last six minutes as Cheikhou Kouyate headed a cross onto the hand of Idrissa Gueye inside the box and the referee initially pointed to the spot for the third penalty of the match but after watching the VAR monitor, he changed his mind and reversed his own decision.
Tunisia pushed for the equaliser in the closing stages but the West African side were resilient at the back and held on to advance to the final.