AFCON Roundup: Quarter-Final Fixtures Set as Ivory Coast and Tunisia Squeeze Through

​The quarter-final ties for this year’s Africa Cup of Nations are all set up, as Ivory Coast edged past Mali and Tunisia needed penalties to get past Ghana. It has been a memorable tournament full of shocks and upsets, and Monday’s ties provided more of the same in two memorable last 16 affairs. There were quality pieces of play, controversial decisions, comedy own-goals and even the odd scuffle, as the 2019 AFCON approaches its final stages. Let’s take a look at the last two second-round games which took place on Monday. ​Contrary to what outsiders may think, Ivory Coast’s victory over Mali was very much against the run of play, as they weathered the storm to snatch victory late on. In an entertaining game that was far better than the scoreline may suggest, Mali spurned chance after chance to take the lead. The pick of these came early on as Abdoulay Diaby couldn’t turn the ball in at the back post after Sylvain Gbohouo spilled a Mali corner. Diaby came close once again when his free-kick evaded everybody except for Gbohouo, who tipped the ball over just as it looked like creeping in under the crossbar. At the other end, Adama Traore had a glorious chance to score after he broke through on goal, but couldn’t beat Djigui Diarra in the Mali net. The Ivorians would get a second bite at the cherry however, as ​Wilfried Zaha raced through and made no mistake on 76 minutes to make it 1-0. His side were then able to hold out for the rest of the match to book their place in the last eight of the contest for the seventh time in their eight most recent attempts. In a game that had more controversy than quality, Tunisia broke Ghana’s hearts as they booked a spot in the last eight after a penalty shootout. Ghana thought they’d taken the lead in the first half when Andre Ayew’s clever backheel beat Mouez Hassen in the opposing goal, only for it to be ruled out for a handball against Thomas Partey during the build-up. However, replays clearly showed the ball struck Partey’s face, not his arm. As the second half drew on, it looked as if the match would be goalless until Taha Yassine Khenissi neatly converted Wajdi Kechrida’s low cross in off the post. Just as Tunisia thought they’d won it, Rami Bedoui’s added time own-goal gave Ghana a lifeline.  The defender had been brought on as a substitute 60 seconds before putting the ball through his own net. Both sides struggled to create chances in extra time and the key moment came when Tunisia swapped goalkeepers in the 121st minute, as Farouk Ben Mustapha replaced Hassen in goal for the penalty shootout. And it was Ben Mustapha who was the hero as he kept out Caleb Ekuban’s poor penalty to send the Tunisians through to quarter-finals. Let’s take a look at the quarter-final ties in full: Senegal vs Benin, Wednesday 10th July Nigeria vs South Africa, Wednesday 10th July Ivory Coast vs Algeria, Thursday 11th July Madagascar vs Tunisia, Thursday 11th July

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