Tunisia’s road to the third place playoff

Youssef Msakni of Tunisia celebrates his goal with teammate Taha Yassine Khenissi of Tunisia during the Africa Cup of Nations 2019 Finals quarterfinal game between Madagascar and Tunisia at Al Salam Stadium in Cairo, Egypt on 11 July 2019 © Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix

The Carthage Eagles came to Egypt with high hopes to achieve something for the team that only won AFCON once at home in 2004. They reached the semifinal for the first time since then, but couldn’t take the final step stumbling at the penultimate hurdle.

Tunisia started the 2019 Total Africa Cup of Nations on a slow note with three draws in the group stage. In the Suez based Group E they had a 1-1 draw with Angola in the first game, with Youssef Msakni scoring their goal from the spot after 34 minutes. It was followed by another 1-1 draw with Mali, Whabi Khazri scored after 70 minutes. And they ended with a goalless draw against Mauritania. Three points were enough to see them finish in second place behind leaders Mali.

In the Round of 16 they needed penalties to oust Ghana after a 1-1 draw in Ismailia. Taha Khenissi scored after 73 minutes, before the shootout ended 5-4 in the Carthage Eagles favor. And in the quarterfinals it was all one way traffic to defeat Madagascar 3-0 at the Cairo based Al Salam Stadium. Ferjani Sassi (52), Msakni (60) and Naim Sliti (93) secured their passage to the semis.

They had a heartbreak in the penultimate round losing to Senegal 1-0 after extra-time. Missing a penalty in the second half, and being declined another by VAR, besides a headed own goal gave them some sour taste to deal with waiting for the bronze medals match.

Tunisia’s road to the 3rd place playoff

Group stage Tunisia 1-1 Angola

Group stage Tunisia 1-1 Mali

Group stage Mauritania 0-0 Tunisia

Round of 16 Ghana 1-1 (4-5 on penalties) Tunisia

Quarterfinal Madagascar 0-3 Tunisia

Semifinal Senegal 1-0 Tunisia