The Black Stars of Ghana were knocked out of the ongoing Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt after losing out on penalties to the Carthage Eagles of Tunisia. The game went into extra time and penalties after a 1-1 draw with both goals coming in the second half. Tunisia will clash with the Barea of Madagascar in their first appearance in the tournament’s Quarter-final since 2004 when they went on to win the competition on home soil.
Tunisia took the lead in the second half through Taha Khenissi and were on their way to the quarter-finals of the tournament before Ghana secured their equalizer in the last minute of regular time courtesy of an own goal from Rami Bedoui to send the game into extra time.
The Black stars had an early chance as the 5th minute of the first half when Thomas Partey’s low cross was deflected behind by Ferjani Sassi. However, the Ghana corner was headed away at the back post and Tunisia quickly countered to put the Black Stars under pressure. Taha Khenissi thought he was through on goal for Tunisia but an excellent saving challenge from a sliding Andy Yiadom ended the danger.
Ghana continued to pile the pressure on the North-African and a free-kick just outside the left corner of the box was swung in by Andy Yiadom but the Tunisian goalkeeper Hassen Mouez gathered the ball. The goalkeeper was then tripped by Ghana’s John Boye who was booked by the referee. Tunisia’s Dylan Bronn was booked immediately for complaining.
The best chance of the first half fell to Nuhu Kasim who watched his header crash against the upright. The defender found himself free at the back post from a Ghana corner and directed his header goalwards. Tunisia goalkeeper Hassen Mouez was well beaten but Nuhu’s header was off target and the ball rebounded off the left upright.
Controversy took place just before half-time as Ghana had a goal chalked off in the 41st minute. Tunisia failed to clear a corner properly and the ball fell to Thomas Partey, who laid it for Jordan Ayew and his low cross was backheeled skillfully into the net by his brother Andre Ayew. However, the referee disallowed the goal claiming that there was a handball in the build-up by Partey.
Ghana started the second half brightly with Samuel Owusu showing a good burst of pace and some nifty skill to get to the byeline. He tried to catch out Mouez Hassen at his near post, but the goalkeeper got down quickly and kept it out for a Tunisians corner.
The corner from the left seemed threatening as a combination of Taha Khenissi and Oussama Hadadi tried the goal but the ball then flicked off Ghana’s John Boye as it flicked wide off the far post.
Tunisia did not create a lot of chances in the game and they seemed set for extra time before the introduction of Whabi Khazri. The former Premier League star danced into the box and created a chance that was cleared off the line but all appeals for a penalty was shrugged off. The resulting corner was directed goalwards by Skhri but the header crashed off the bar.
Tunisia finally got the breakthrough with just about 15 minutes to go. The Carthage Eagles broke down the right wing and Wajdi Kechrida pulled the ball back to send a dangerous ball towards the penalty spot. The cross was met by Taha Khenissi who was running towards the near post and he put the ball past Richard Ofori.
Ghana came close to an equalizer after Mubarak Wakaso was denied from 30 yards by a fingertip save by Mouez Hassen. Kwesi Appiah introduced Asamoah Gyan as they chased an equalizer.
The pressure finally paid off as the Black Stars won a free kick that was floated into the box and was diverted into the net by Rami Bedoui who beat his own keeper. The Carthage Eagles were minutes away from reaching the quarter-finals but they faced 30 minutes of extra-time.
Andy Yiadom and Asamoah Gyan tested Tunisian goalkeeper, Mouez Hassen early on in extra-time but the shot-stopper was in good form to keep the Black Stars out. Sliti and Khazri were also exciting in attack for the Carthage Eagles but they failed to break down the defence of the Black Stars.
Ghana: Richard Ofori, Andy Yiadom, Baba Rahman, John Boye, Kasim Adams, Mubarak Wakaso, André Ayew, Samuel Owusu, Thomas Partey, Afriyie Acquah, Jordan Ayew.
Tunisia: Mouez Hassen, Wajdi Kechrida, Yassine Meriah, Dylan Bronn, Oussama Haddadi, Ferjani Sassi, Ellyes Skhiri, Anice Badri, Ghailene Chaalali, Youssef Msakni, Taha Yassine Khenissi