FULL TIME: Tunisia 1-1 Equatorial Guinea (1-2 AET)

  • Hamza Mathlouthi goes right for the referee after he puts an end to one of the most baffling officiating performances I’ve ever seen. Tunisia are left steaming on their way out of the AFCON. Akaichi’s opening goal with 20 minutes left was set to put them through, but a clanger of a penalty decision saw Equatorial Guinea level the scores with virtually the last kick of regulation. Balboa scored the spot kick, and added another with a great free kick in the added period. Tunisia were never able to recover. The tournament hosts will now face the winner of Guinea-Ghana in the last four.
  • 120′ + 5′
    The scuffle is cleared and the referee blows the final whistle!
  • 120′ + 3′
    Here we go! This was inevitable. There’s a huge flare-up on the sidelines mostly involving infuriated members of the Tunisia bench. How does the referee even begin to sort this?
  • 120′ + 2′
    Abdennour’s throw is hauled into the box, and Ben Youssef wins the first ball, allowing Akaichi to have a strike on goal, but Rui gets a crucial touch to take it away from goal!
  • 120′ + 1′
    Now or never for Tunisia. They need to save their AFCON campaign. Abdennour has a long throw…
  • 119′
    Wait, there’s still actual football to be played? Bolado advances down the right-hand side and nearly angles himself into space for a cross into the six-yard area. He’s eventually shepherded over the byline though.
  • 117′
    Into the final five minutes of this game, but there must surely be a decent chunk of added time given all the stoppages we’ve had in the second period of extra time.
  • 115′
    Ovono may be in some real distress here, but Equatorial Guinea have used all three of their substitutions so far. The game is halted as he gets treated and given that he’s the goalkeeper, it’s not just a simple matter of moving him to the sidelines for treatment.
  • 113′
    Don’t tell that to Maaloul though, who cracks a 35-yard effort that needs a diving parry from Ovono! Down he goes again, the keeper, in what looks a bit like time wasting, but you never know.
  • 112′
    Tunisia get bailed out by a free kick about 35 yards from goal. Perhaps just a little too far to have a shot, but a great chance to hoist the ball into the box and cause some problems…
  • 110′
    Nothing at all happening in terms of goalmouth action, and that’s playing right into the host nation’s hands.Tunisia are struggling to string basic passes together, and they look out of ideas.
  • 108′
    Tunisia have less than 15 minutes to rescue this game. However, their players look absolutely spent, physically and emotionally. It’s going to take a herculean effort for them to get that leveler.
  • 106′
    The second half of extra time finally gets underway as the referee initially awards the kick-off to the wrong team! Rajindraparsad Seechurn people, remember that name. He’ll probably want to cancel any and all future trips to Tunisia.
  • 105′ + 1′
    Yet more drama as a player is down injured, which angers Tunisia to no end as they perceive time-wasting is on the National Thunder’s agenda. The referee finally blows for the break in extra time.
  • 104′
    SubstitutionMohamed Yaacoubi Youssef Msakni
  • 104′
    There was some absolutely vicious bend on that effort from Balboa, but I have to question the keeper Aymen Mathlouthi. He dived behind his line and ended up tangled in the side netting as that one flew in.
  • 102′
    GoalJavier Balboa
    STUNNER! BALBOA HAS DONE IT AGAIN! From the free kick, the winger bends the ball over the top of the wall and into the top corner!
  • 99′
    Balboa wins a free kick after skipping past a few challenges in the opposition half. He’s finally brought down by Abdennour, and now the host nation have a tasty free-kick chance…
  • 97′
    All the momentum is with the host nation here. Tunisia’s attacks are breaking down far too easily in the midfield, and it’s costing them a few vulnerable positions as Equatorial Guinea break.
  • 95′
    Tunisia still seem shell shocked after the penalty. They’re slow to the ball and are being put under considerable pressure by the National Thunder. With this crowd in the mood, the last thing the Carthage Eagles would want is penalties.
  • 93′
    The referee has invited a scenario where players are now throwing themselves to the ground on every challenge. And why wouldn’t they given the ease of that last penalty decision?
  • 91′
    Here we go again.
  • 90′ + 6′
    Yellow CardFerjani Sassi
  • 90′ + 6′
    Yellow CardIban Salvador edu
  • 90′ + 6′
    The referee blows the whistle, and that will be it for now. We’ll have an extra 30 minutes to find a winner.
  • 90′ + 5′
    Tempers flare in the dying minutes of the quarter-final as Ivan Edu goes down, sparking another coming together. The referee has completely lost control of this game, I’m afraid.
  • 90′ + 3′
    Penalty GoalJavier Balboa
    NO MISTAKE! Balboa slots the penalty neatly into the bottom-left side, and surely we’re set for extra time!
  • 90′
    MADNESS! EQUATORIAL GUINEA HAVE A PENALTY! It’s a shocker of a decision as, under pressure from Hamza Mathlouthi, Bolado simulates the bulk of the contact, throwing himself into the ground. Terrible and controversial decision.
  • 88′
    This game still appears deceptively open as we enter the closing stages. Tunisia haven’t quite retreated into shut-up-shop mode, and that has made their defensive third look a little more open than it should.
  • 86′
    Yellow CardMohamed Amine Chermiti
  • 86′
    SubstitutionSipo Belima
  • 86′
    My word will Nsue rue that miss? There’s certainly not a lot of time left in this game for them to force extra time. Chances don’t come much better than that. Four minutes plus stoppage time to go.
  • 85′
    SubstitutionAhmed Akaichi Mohamed Amine Chermiti
  • 85′
    SubstitutionWahbi Khazri Mohamed Manser
  • 84′
    GREAT CHANCE FOR A LEVELER! A wonderful through ball finds Nsue peeling away from Yacoubi, but his low shot is blocked excellently by Aymen Mathlouthi! A few Equatorial Guinea players hold their heads in their hands.
  • 82′
    Sassi is back with us and is involved in the very next move, where Maaloul advances into a good position down the left-hand side. However, there is an offside call on Chikhaoui when the ball is worked to the opposite side.
  • 80′
    SubstitutionRandy Bolado
  • 80′
    Sassi is down on the deck and it looks like his evening is done. He’s about to be driven off on the cart, but the attendants have taken off in the wrong direction! Eventually, they get it right.
  • 78′
    Akaichi is free down the left, and he lays the ball off for Chikhaoui, who is marked tightly and can’t get his shot on target. A good run from the striker there, that nearly caused the National Thunder real problems.
  • 76′
    Maaloul very nearly gets on the end of a Khazri feed, but Ovono shows great anticipation to race off his line and clear the ball outside his box. His handling has been trash, but his ability to rush out has been anything but.
  • 74′
    Ivan Edu squares up with a few Tunisia players near the touchline, and the referee has to act quickly to sort out this brewing confrontation. That goal was just what this game needed.
  • 72′
    Akaichi is once again the difference for Tunisia. Of the five goals for the Carthage Eagles in this tournament, he’s scored three of them – making him the joint-top scorer of the competition. He’s also now bagged five in 11 international appearances.
  • 70′
    AssistHamza Mathlouthi
  • 70′
    GoalAhmed Akaichi
    TUNISIA HAVE TAKEN THE LEAD! Hamza Mathlouthi gets past his man down the right, and does just enough to hook a great cross in for Akaichi, who does the rest from close range!
  • 67′
    Hamza Mathlouthi fires a shot that should be routine for Ovono, but the keeper lets the ball slip out of his grasp. Akaichi chases down the loose ball, but clatters into Ovono, who recovered his grip just in time. The Equatorial Guinea stopper then rolls around, and convinces the referee that the damage was severe enough to warrant a booking for Akaichi.
  • 66′
    Yellow CardAhmed Akaichi
  • 65′
    Ivan Edu plays his football largely for the youth team of Liga side Valencia, but my word, do this crowd expect great things from him! Every time he touches the ball there’s a roar of anticipation.
  • 63′
    Yellow CardMohamed Yaacoubi
  • 63′
    YELLOW CARD! Yacoubi is immediately flashed a booking after a horrible two-footed tackle that could have snapped Balboa’s leg in two. If I was the referee I’d have shown a straight red for that.
  • 61′
    SubstitutionRaul Fabiani Iban Salvador edu
  • 61′
    First substitution of the game, as Fabiani departs, being replaced by Ivan Edu. The substitute provides more of a pacey, off-the-ball option than the former, who was a genuine target man.
  • 59′
    NOT A BAD EFFORT! Khazri, for the second time in this game, takes aim from the edge of the box but his effort whizzes past the post! Once again though, he had an unmarked option out wide that he could have utilized instead.
  • 57′
    Doualla slips in Nsue down the right-hand side, but he’s confronted by Ben Youssef, who eventually wins the free kick.
  • 55′
    Abdennour has been a rock at the back for the Eagles of Carthage. He earned himself a move to Monaco from Toulouse last year, and has been on form all tournament.
  • 53′
    The two best chances in this game have both fallen Tunisia’s way. However, it remains goalless in this game. Can that last Akaichi chance finally spark this game into life?
  • 51′
    TERRIFIC SAVE! Guess those wrist problems weren’t too bad! Ovono sticks up a strong arm to tip away a powerful effort from Akaichi, who had latched onto a cross from Chikhaoui, following an excellent run down the left.
  • 49′
    Cautiously positive start to the second half from Equatorial Guinea, who are trying to get men isolated down the right flank. Tunisia just sitting back and absorbing the pressure at the moment,
  • 47′
    Free-kick chance for Equatorial Guinea from the right-hand side, but Kike’s delivery is poor, not making it past the first man. The set pieces need to pick up from both sides.
  • 46′
    The sides are out, and we’re underway again!
  • The referee ends the first half with Tunisia and Equatorial Guinea deadlocked in a goalless stalemate. It’s not been a match for the purists, with goalmouth action hard to come by. Both sides have traded half chances and a few positive buildups, but it’s all been pockmarked by long periods of midfield slog. Let’s hope for more urgency in the second half. Stay tuned.
  • 45′
    Tunisia try to scramble a chance just before half time, as Akaichi maneuvers into space down the left, playing a pass into Chikhaoui in traffic. The forward tries to control quickly and shoot at a fast-disappearing gap at the near post, but he’s whistled for a handball.
  • 43′
    Half time is just around the bend, and we’re still no closer to separating these two teams. Earlier, DR Congo came back from two down to win 4-2 against Congo. Let’s hope that the football gods haven’t decided that we’ve seen enough AFCON goals for one day!
  • 41′
    CLOSE FOR EQUATORIAL GUINEA! Aymen Mathlouthi shows great bravery to punch clear a dangerous cross in traffic, but he can’t get it past Balboa near the top of the box. It’s struck right back towards goal by the midfielder, but Abdennour is on hand to hack away.
  • 39′
    We’re starting to see more from Equatorial Guinea in recent minutes. The National Thunder’s improvement has been matched by an increased noise in the stands. Finally this feels like an AFCON tie again!
  • 37′
    Balboa has Sipo making an overlapping run in support down the left and he duly feeds the left-back with a great pass that is just ahead of the challenging Yacoubi. However, Sipo takes too long to angle a cross in and the momentum of the chance dies.
  • 35′
    Both teams are playing like it’s the second half of extra time. There is absolutely no urgency about anything that the players are doing. The passing has been mightily sloppy as well.
  • 33′
    Tunisia continue to control the passage of play with increasing regularity. We haven’t seen an attacking foray from Equatorial Guinea in a long while now. However, it’s still all very measured from the Eagles of Carthage.
  • 31′
    NOW THAT WAS A CHANCE! Akaichi holds the ball up on the right-hand side and waits for the run of Sassi. The midfielder connects with a running header, and narrowly misses the target!
  • 29′
    Tunisia have generally shown more purpose on the ball, and you get the sense that they have more of an idea of what they want to accomplish in the final third. Equatorial Guinea always have potential on the break though.
  • 27′
    Khazri does excellently to keep a hold of the ball under pressure from a couple of challenges and takes aim from 25 yards, missing the target via a deflection. Had he lifted his head earlier though, he would have seen Hamza Mathlouthi completely open down the right.
  • 25′
    Both sides started this game eagerly, but there has been a conservative bend to the last few plays that is not making it the most thrilling of games for us neutrals. The gravitas of the occasion looms large.
  • 23′
    Hardly anything to report in terms of goalmouth action, but Hamza Mathlouthi does deliver a peach of a cross into the area that needs a determined header from Rui to clear.
  • 21′
    Khazri is the next man to take a knock that requires attention from the physios. Tunisia will not want to lose him, as his understanding with Akaichi will be crucial to their hopes.
  • 19′
    Ovono is patched up in time to continue. Is it just me or has there been a higher-than-average number of players needing extended periods of on-pitch treatment in this year’s AFCON?
  • 17′
    Equatorial Guinea panic on a corner, and their nerves are rattled further as Ovono drops the initial ball, but recovers it on the second attempt. He seems to have hurt himself in the process, re-aggravating the wrist that he already had taped up pre-match.
  • 15′
    Balboa is shaping up to be a danger man out on the flanks for the host nation, and his drilled cross just about misses Kike at the back post. Tunisia need to be aware of his pace out wide.
  • 13′
    DR Congo were the first side to book their place in the final four of the Africa Cup of Nations with a 4-2 win over Congo earlier in the day. They will face the winner of Cote d’Ivoire-Algeria, while tonight’s victors will square off against the winner of Guinea-Ghana.
  • 11′
    An enticing opening to this game, with both teams clearly out for the win. Tunisia have shown more poise in the final third, but they must be wary of committing too many men forward against a spirited outfit that have a fair bit of pace up top.
  • 9′
    Yellow CardHocine Ragued
  • 9′
    Ragued picks up a sloppy booking for a reckless tackle on the fantastically named Zarandona near the centre of the park. Tightrope for the rest of the game for a player in a crucial midfield position.
  • 7′
    TUNISIA GO CLOSE! Khazri tricks his way to the top of the box and he spots Chikhaoui making a run to the far post. He tries to feed his fellow forward, who is just shy of making contact!
  • 5′
    Huge cheers go up every time Equatorial Guinea get on the ball. Doualla has a chance to lift a free kick into the area with plenty of bodies forward, but his delivery is terrible.
  • 3′
    Equatorial Guinea make a bright start to this game, forcing a corner and nearly breaching into the box on one occasion. The hosts have delighted at times with their spirit in this tournament.
  • 1′
    Here we go!
  • An unchanged lineup fron Tunisia coach Georges Leekens, despite a somewhat sobering 1-1 draw against DR Congo in their final group game. Meanwhile, Esteban Becker makes only one alteration to his XI, recalling defender Diosdado Mbele in place of Dani Evuy.
  • Equatorial Guinea (4-4-2): Ovono; Randy, Mbele, Rui, Sipo; Seno, Doualla, Zarandona, Balboa; Nsue, Fabiani.
  • Tunisia (4-3-3): Aymen Mathlouthi; Hamza Mathlouthi, Abdennour, Ben Youssef, Maaloul; Yacoubi, Sassi, Ragued; Akaichi, Khazri, Chikhaoui.
  • Both of these sides met twice during qualification for the 2014 World Cup. Tunisia won the initial match 3-1 at home, with the teams sharing the spoils with a 1-1 draw in the return fixture.
  • Tournament hosts Equatorial Guinea may be underdogs on paper, but they’ll have the 12th man advantage. The entire country was celebrating after they clinched their place in the quarter-finals with a 2-0 win over Gabon in their final group game, and they can expect an overwhelming backing here at the Estadio de Bata.
  • Tunisia, currently ranked 22nd in the world and AFCON winners in 2004, are one of the favourites for this tournament. They have yet to taste defeat, with two wins and one draw in their group games. Furthermore, their four group-stage goals have been bettered by only one side – Algeria.