The fairy tale of Madagascar stopped in quarters. Tunisia beat the surprising Zebus (3-0), Thursday in Cairo, to go into the last four of the CAN for the first time since 2004.
Do not win any group game, pass the 8th finals on penalties, be apathetic for 45 minutes against the modest Malagasy ... the Eagles of Carthage have not overflown since the beginning of the tournament, but here they are in half, facing Senegal, Sunday.
Their tortuous journey contrasts with the historical significance of their feat: until then, the Tunisians had met five times in quarters in fifteen years, since the year of their only title, won at home. This success breaks the curse and starts the dream machine.
The team of Alain Giresse had his best time in Egypt after the locker room, with goals from Ferjani Sassi (52), Youssef Msakni (60) and Naïm Sliti (92). A simple reaction of pride, or a real rise in power?
His supporters, few at the Al-Salam stadium, will know it against Senegal, a difficult opponent for Tunisia who posted the least certainties in the game of four semi-finalists.
- Msakni-Khazri, double threat -
Teranga coach Aliou Cisse had to take note of the weaknesses of his future opponent stuck against Madagascar. For a long time, the Maghrebians seemed to depend on an individual feat of Wahbi Khazri or their captain Youssef Msakni to unblock the situation.
Short of collective ideas, the Eagles of Carthage have almost opened the scoring on a free kick of the Stephanois slammed under the bar by Melvin Adrien (31). It was finally a blow of fate that brought them out of their torpor: a strike by Sassi deflected by defender Thomas Fontaine, powerless.
On the second goal, Msakni follows a strike from Khazri badly rejected by the keeper of the Zebu, to close the case.
These two actions summarize the meeting of Madagascar, that success will have fled this time.
Two fan planes especially from Antananarivo were not enough, nor a good state of mind: the Malagasy, who discovered the competition, did not chained a new feat, after defeating Nigeria (2-0) then DR Congo in 8th (2-2 ap, 4-2 on the tab).
Too messy, and physically blunt, the team of Nicolas Dupuis was not able to carry the danger on the goal of Mouez Hassen. But Tom Thumb can leave Egypt with his head held high.
Dijonnais Naïm Sliti celebrated the third goal, at the conclusion of a counter, of a gesture signifying the end of Malagasy hopes. But for Tunisians, it's only just beginning.
© 2019 AFP