Tunisia reach African final after shootout
22 February 2011
Tunisia edged Algeria 5-3 in a penalty shootout on Tuesday to book an African Nations Championship final place against hosts Sudan or Angola.
The semi-final clash of North African neighbours finished 1-1 after 90 minutes and extra time failed to separate teams who had spells of territorial dominance on an artificial Khartoum Stadium pitch.
Tunisia scored from all five mandatory penalties with Khaled Korbi converted the crucial final one after Algerian Hocine Metref failed to net his spot kick and handed the initiative to their rivals.
In regulation time, Tunisia bossed the first half and Algeria the second during a match watched by FIFA president Sepp Blatter and UEFA chief Michel Platini, who are in Sudan for the CAF general assembly.
Slama Gasdaoui put the Tunisians ahead on 18 minutes with his third goal of the biennial championship for home-based footballers as he stabbed a low cross from the left past goalkeeper Mohamed Zemmamouche.
Algeria introduced 'super sub' Hadj Aissa nine minutes into the second half and persistent pressure paid dividents on 62 minutes when Abdelmoumene Djabou scored via a long-range shot.
Tired legs and minds meant extra time produced few chances to break the deadlock and both sides had clearly settled for a shootout long before the Mauritian referee blew for full-time.
Sudan and Angola clash later in Omdurman -- across the river Nile from Khartoum -- with both teams eager to improve their goal rate after a meagre three each in four matches en route to the penultimate stage.
The final and third place play-off are scheduled for Friday at the Al-Merreikh Stadium -- home to a club of the same name which has ruled domestic football for decades with neighbours Al-Hilal.