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Africa Cup of Nations
January 23, 2013
• Royal Bafokeng Stadium, Phokeng, NW
Referee: B. Gassama
• Attendance: 8000
Y. Msakni 90'+
Msakni's brilliance at the death lit up a game that certainly was not one for the purists. Tunisia join the Ivory Coast on three points at the top of Group D, while Togo and Algeria prop up the standings. That's it from me folks, see you next time.
90' + 4'
Hicheri wins another header. The ball is eventually worked out for another corner, but Belkalem heads it comfortably wide. And that is the last chance of the match, as the ref calls full time!
90' + 3'
Last gasp corner for Algeria, but the Tunisian defence head it clear for another corner. Why is the keeper not running forward for this?
90' + 2'
Mohamed Amine Aoudia
90' + 2'
Yellow Card Youssef Msakni
90' + 2'
Well it took almost 92 minutes, but we finally have a moment of real quality. And it's ended up deciding the match.
90' + 1'
Assist Chedi Hammami
90' + 1'
Goal Youssef Msakni
GOOOOOOOOOAL!! Tunisia have stolen it in the most brilliant fashion! An absolutely outstanding individual effort from Msakni, who cuts in off the left, and bends a stunner right into the top corner from 20 yards out!
Kadir stands over a late corner for Algeria, but Abdennour leaps impressively to win the defensive header.
Not much stoppage time I imagine, it's been a fairly uneventful second half so far, with little incident.
Wow, almost a complete fluke to win the game! Lacen fired a cross into the danger area, and it takes two deflections, off Abdennour and Kadir, and thankfully for Tunisia, it bundles wide!
Fakhereedine Ben Youssef
Soudani with a testing cross, but Slimani just cannot muster enough to get on the end of it and it trickles away from danger.
Darragi, who has been quietly impressive off the bench, goes tumbling in the box after attempting to squeeze past a defender on the byline. No penalty forthcoming, correct call by the ref as it was simply a shoulder-to-shoulder.
Hicheri showcases his typical aerial dominance by winning a header from a Kadir centre.
It really is dead all around the stadium. Momentum is lacking on the pitch, and it has filtered through to the stands. Only the screech of the vuvuzela keeps a din of noise permeating the match.
What a chance that was for Tunisia to take the lead! Darragi does extremely well to win the ball outside the box, and slips in Harbaoui for a one-on-one with the keeper. But he gets the ball stuck under his feet, and bundles the finish wide. Appalling.
Algeria penalty claim? Feghouli goes down inside the area after a tussle with Chemmam. The contact there looked to be normal occurrences within a 50-50 challenge, it would have been a harsh call.
Yellow Card Djamel Mesbah
Mesbah gets his name taken by the referee for a late challenge on Khlifa.
Guedioura with an absolutely vicious strike from 30 yards out that whizzes about a foot over the bar. It looks like that effort took a lot out of him, he's pulled up with a bit of cramp.
It's been well-documented that the 2013 AFCON has been a mosh pit of uninspiring draws, and for all intents and purposes, this game looks like finishing in the same manner. Hard to see where the inspiration will come from.
A poor, poor pass from Guedioura, whose simple diagonal ball to his fullback goes out of play, to an audible groan from the crowd.
Kadir with a clever shimmy down the left flank, freeing himself for a cross, but clips it way over the head of any of his teammates, and Tunisia can reset.
Cadamuro initially does very well to win the ball off Msekni with a clean tackle, but then wastes his good work with a poor pass out that bounces against the legs of Chemmam, and inadvertently frees Msekni for a cross on the left, that goes to nothing.
Algeria are beginning to wrest themselves onto a more even footing in the match, after appearing lost for the opening minutes of the second half.
Slimani wriggles free down the right and advances towards the byline, but his low ball into the box is routine stuff for the keeper.
The difference from Tunisia in this second half is that they are getting a lot more players committed through the centre when they attack. Far too often in the first half, they would be strangled and isolated out on the wings, but now they are putting some head-on pressure on the Algerian defence.
Out of nowhere, Mesbah drives forward from midfield and cracks a low drive towards goal! Even though it flashes just wide... that's the kind of inspiration we need to see a lot more of!
Algeria really haven't gotten going again in this second half. Tunisia, it seems, have all the momentum.
Msakni with a beautiful turn to free himself about 25 yards out. He tries to pick out Harbaoui on the run towards goal, but his pass is overhit, and M'Bolhi sees it out for a goalkick.
A lot of empty seats in the stands, as some of the crowd has not made it back from the half-time break as yet/
A positive start to the second half from Tunisia, who are pushing down the flanks with far more intent. Still not close to a breakthrough though.
Away we go with the second half!
No goals between the North African neighbors in the first 45 minutes. It's not been the prettiest spectacle in any sense, but Algeria have clearly been the best of a bad bunch, looking more purposeful in possession, and even hitting the bar through Slimani. We'll be back soon to take on the second half, so stay tuned.
45' + 2'
That's half time folks.
45' + 1'
Excellent from Slimani to trap a high ball and slip past Abdennour, but the Tunisian man recovers in time to force a goal kick.
Last minute of the first half, and I think we could all use a recharge at the break. Two minutes of added time to go...
Hang on, Tunisia with a great chance on the break! Khlifa breaks forward down the right, and with space to cross and shoot, he elects for the latter, but his effort is straight at the keeper. Very disappointing end to a promising scenario.
Seven shots to seven from both sides, a surprising statistic given the absolute lack of quality up front.
Some rare sustained possession from Tunisia in the opposition half. They still look very rushed on the ball though, and are not forming any cohesion in their attack.
Yellow Card Hamdi Harbaoui
And another positive is that the noise of the vuvuzelas has died down as the game has progressed, treating viewers to the far more rousing sounds of drums beating in the stands. But just as one annoying spectator trend dies, another is born - a Mexican wave has just begun circling the stadium.
Thankfully, Gambian official Papa Gassama has loosened his grip on his whistle in the last five minutes or so. No one likes to see the referee be the star of the show, and the game has certainly benefited from his newly found leniency.
Better and better from Algeria, as they force a succession of corners. Tunisia forced into a bit of backs to the wall defending from set plays.
Ifa picks out Khlifa with a good ball outside the full back, but Khlifa squanders the play with a poor early ball into the penalty area that M'Bolhi is only too happy to mop up.
Algeria hit the bar! Feghouli does brilliantly to slip away from the challenge of Ifa and pick out Slimani with a great cross. However, the forward crashes a header off the bar! That's more like it!
Thoughts on how the match has proceeded so far? Reach me on Twitter @keeghann.
A chance for Algeria to break, Guedioura does well initially to shake off his marker in midfield, but with space to break ahead of him, he instead elects to pick out Feghouli on the right, but the pass is way overhit. Not good enough.
Algeria with their first half-chance, as Kadir squares up to Ifa on the left, manufactures an inch for a shot, but slices one straight into the arms of Sharifa.
Mesbah tries to collect a long ball over the top near the byline, but Khlifa manages to leap in front of him and blast the ball out of play.
Another foul in midfield halts play. Very stop-start this game so far, it has to be said. The referee is certainly not standing for much.
Ifa gets more power on this one, but the wall does its job. Another substandard set piece.
Now Tunisia have a tasty-looking free kick about 25 yards out, and Ifa has his eyes on this one...
What a terrible free kick from Feghouli, who looked to drive it hard and low, but the shot was so tame that the first player in the wall was almost able to control it and break on the counter.
Algeria win a free kick right on the edge of the area, after Feghouli was felled by Traoui when cutting in off the flanks. Interesting set-piece scenario...
Bad news for Jemma, who is sadly not able to shake off that knock. A substitution is being readied...
Kadir with a delicious looking cross towards the six-yard box, but no-one looks to attack it, allowing Sharifa to make the catch. More encouraging signs from Algeria, who are in the ascendancy.
Yellow Card Aymen Abdennour
Abdennour with the first booking of the game after a challenge on Feghouli, who is milking it for all it's worth near the corner flag. The resulting free kick though, is claimed with ease by Sharifa.
Jemma is back on the pitch, moving gingerly but wait! Chance for Tunisia! Slimani gets his head onto a cross from Kadir, Sharifa makes the save, but an offside call halts the momentum.
Khlifa with a strong run forward down the right flank, beating two players with ease, before squaring to Ifa, who ruins the play with a poor attempted clip over the top.
It's been a very nervy start from both sides. I have not seen a single player so far who looks comfortable on the ball. A lot of turnovers, and throw ins, making this a bit of an eyesore early on.
Replays show the Tunisia man clearly tweaking his ankle during the challenge. Two subs are already warming up on the sidelines. It does not look good for Jemaa, what a shame if his tournament would come to an end this early. He goes to the sidelines for treatment as Tunisia temporarily go down to 10 men.
Belkalem with a meaty challenge on Jemaa to clear the ball from danger. He just got the ball, but Jemaa is down on the deck writhing in pain, and I tell you what, he may not be able to continue!
Ifa makes a good strong challenge on Kadir near the corner flag, just as the midfielder looked like getting the step on him. Good defensive play from the full back.
Poor decision from the referee - Mesbah is clearly tripped by Ifa near the edge of the Tunisian box, but instead, a handball is called against the Algeria man.
Algeria are inviting unnecessary pressure in their own half during the opening exchanges, with a few needless back passes forcing a few needless clearances straight back to the opposition.
Here we go in this tasty-looking North African derby! Reach me on Twitter @keeghann for any comments on the match!
Earlier in Group D, perennial favorites Ivory Coast eked out a 2-1 win over Togo, with the much maligned Gervinho, of all people, squeezing in a clever winner in the 88th minute. Will we see such tension here? Kickoff is fast approaching, so let's find out.
The star player in this clash is, of course, Valencia's Sofiane Feghouli. The 23-year-old attacking midfielder has seen steady improvement since joining the Mestalla outfit from French side Grenoble in 2010, and has been in good form in La Liga this term.
Both of these teams have an AFCON trophy to their name, Algeria triumphing in 1990, and Tunisia clinching honors in 2004. The hosts are the second-highest ranked team in the tournament, claiming 22nd on FIFA's leaderboards, while the guests place 53rd in the world.
Tunisia: Ben Cherifia; Ifa, Abdennour, Chammam, Hichri; Traoui, Mouelhi, Hammami, Msakni; Jemaa, Khlifa.
Algeria: Mbolhi; Cadamuro, Belkalem, Medjani, Mesbah; Lacen, Mostefa, Guedioura, Kadir, Feghouli; Soudani.
First, our teams...
Greetings one and all, and welcome to Goal.com's live coverage of the African Cup of Nations Group D clash between Tunisia and Algeria! I'm Keeghann Sinanan, bringing you the play by play.
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