Tunisia scores late to beat Algeria in African Cup

Tunisia scores late to beat Algeria in African Cup

Published Jan. 22, 2013 8:55 p.m. ET

Youssef Msakni scored a remarkable goal in stoppage time to give Tunisia a dramatic 1-0 win over Algeria after it was outplayed for most of their Group D match at the African Cup of Nations on Tuesday.

Msakni cleared a defender outside the area to set up a perfectly-struck, curling shot that hit the upper right corner in the first minute of injury time.

The result leaves Tunisia level on points with group leader Ivory Coast, which also needed a late goal to beat Togo 2-1 earlier Tuesday in Rustenburg.

''Sometimes there is no logic in soccer. The match can change at any time. We believed in the win until the end,'' Tunisia coach Sami Trabelsi said through a translator. ''The two teams deserved the best. They didn't deserve to lose, but that is part of the game.''


Algeria had most of the chances at Royal Bafokeng Stadium and striker Islam Slimani struck the crossbar with a header in the 29th minute, with Tunisia goalkeeper Moez Ben Cherifia only able to watch.

Defender Mesbah Djamel also had a chance with a low shot that flew just wide in the 56th, while a powerful strike from Guedioura Adlane from outside the area went just over the crossbar in the 70th.

Algeria also appealed for a penalty in the 73rd minute after Feghouli Sofiane went down as he broke into the area.

''It's a huge disappointment for the team,'' Algeria coach Vahid Halilhodzic said. ''Especially when they score at the end of the match like this.''

The experienced Bosnian coach stared in disbelief from the bench after the final whistle.

Tunisia relied mostly on counterattacks and its only significant chance before Msakni's goal was a close-range shot by striker Harbaoui Hambdi that missed the target in the 75th.

The game was heading for what would have been a sixth draw in the first eight games of the tournament when Msakni struck his perfect shot. The ball curled away from the Algerian goalkeeper before hitting the back of the net.

Tunisia won its only title in 2004, as the host nation, but it has reached the tournament's quarterfinals every time since a runner-up finish in 1996.

Algeria, which won its sole African title in 1990, did not play in last year's tournament but has brought a revamped team to South Africa and is considered an outside contender for the title.

Under the command of Halilhodzic, it won eight matches and lost only one heading into the African Cup. It was 19th in FIFA's world rankings in December, the best ever for the nation. It is currently ranked 22nd.


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