AFCON Roundup: Algeria Squeeze Into Semi-Finals as Tunisia End Madagascar Dreams

​Algeria and Tunisia came through their quarter-final clashes to book the remaining two spots in the semi-finals of the Africa Cup of Nations on Thursday. The winners of the first two quarter-finals, Senegal and Nigeria, were no doubt watching on with bated breath as they learned who they would be facing on Sunday. As is always the case with AFCON, there were plenty of thrills, spills and no shortage of talking points to get stuck into. Here’s a quick look at what happened in the second round of quarter-final matches on Thursday. Algeria and Ivory Coast were the most evenly matched quarter-finalists on paper, so this one was always going to be an intriguing clash. Ivory Coast started the brighter of the two teams, but it was Algeria who drew blood first, as former West Ham forward Sofiane Feghouli opened the scoring after twenty minutes with a cool side-footed finish. Soon after, Algeria had the chance to double their lead when Baghdad Bounedjah earned himself a penalty – only for the Al Sadd striker to crash the spot kick against the bar. Ivory Coast dug in and managed to find an equaliser midway through the second-half, courtesy of Aston Villa striker Jonathon Kodjia, who breached the Algerian defence for the first time in the tournament. Neither side was able to find a winning strike in normal time and, after an uneventful period of extra-time, the game was then set to be decided on penalties. Wilfried Bony and Serie Die lacked the finishing touch from the spot for Les Elephants, sending Algeria through to face off against Nigeria. Madagascar (108th in the FIFA rankings) have been the surprise package of the tournament as they defied the odds to qualify from their group, before causing an upset to defeat DR Congo in the round of 16. Tunisia​ would prove to be much tougher opponents and, after a quiet first-half, the favourites soon began to assert their dominance.  Ferjani Sassi opened the scoring shortly after the interval with a deflected strike from outside the area, before Youssef Msakni was quickest to react to a loose ball, doubling Tunsia’s lead and essentially ending Madagascar’s hopes of reaching the semis. Madagascar pushed forward in the hopes of pulling at least one goal back, but it was to no avail and, in the closing exchanges, they were hit by a sucker punch as Naim Sliti finished off a swift counter attack to set up a semi-final fixture against Senegal. 

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