Tunisia have ended the fairy tale run of Madagascar at the ongoing Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt, AFCON 2019.
The Carthage Eagles thrashed the tournament debutants 3-0 to book a semi-final date with Senegal who edged out Benin Republic in their own quarter-final tie.
Tunisia started out AFCON 2019 slowly getting just three draws in the group phase.
They dug deep to send Ghana packing in the Round of 16 before securing the big win over Madagascar.
Ferjani Sassi’s scruffy strike broke Madagascar’s resolve in the 52nd minute before his teammates Youssef Msakni and Naim Sliti sealed the win for the North Africans.
Tunisia have thus reached the semi-finals of the Africa Cup of Nations for the first time since the 2004 edition when they won the tournament. They failed to qualify in their last five appearances in the quarter-finals.
Before Thursday’s encounter, Madagascar had had an excellent run in AFCON 2019. First, it shocked Nigeria 2-0 in the group stage. It then went on to produce another upset when it beat DR Congo 4-2 on penalties to qualify for the quarter-final of the tournament.
AFCON 2019 also saw Benin Republic shocking bookmakers by qualifying for their first-ever Africa Cup of Nations quarter-final. And they did so in dramatic fashion; ousting one of the tournament’s favourites, Morocco, 4-1 on penalties.
The West African country, however, fell by the wayside on Wednesday when they lost to the Teranga Lions of Senegal 1-0. Senegal will now face Tunisia in the first semi-final on Sunday while Nigeria clashes with Algeria.
AFCON 2019 began on June 21 with the opening match between host, Egypt, and Zimbabwe. The tournament will come to an end at 8.00pm. on Friday, July 19 with the final scheduled for the Cairo International Stadium.
With semi-final matches yet to be played, Nigeria, Algeria, Senegal and Tunisia are the four surviving contenders for the coveted trophy out of the 24 teams that started off on June 21.
AFCON 2019 is the 32nd edition of the Africa Cup of Nations which was first staged as a four-team competition in 1957 in Egypt.