Ghana’s quest for a fifth Africa Cup of Nations title at AFCON 2019 ended on Monday when they were knocked out of the ongoing competition by Tunisia on penalties.
The Black Stars, tipped as favourites over the Carthage Eagles, did not have an easy ride at the Ismailia Stadium, as Tunisia produced their best game so in the tournament to break even the clash.
The Ghanaians would have a goal disallowed in the 42nd minute following a hand ball, according to the referee, but replays showed it was an authentic goal.
After a goalless draw in first half and more back and forth tussles, the Tunisians took the lead through Taha Yassine Khenissi, who chipped home his last ditch effort from set pieces in the 73rd minute.
The North Africans held on to the slim lead as Andre Ayew and Co. pressed breathtakingly for an eventual equaliser, which surfaced in the 90th minute when Rami Bedoui’s back header from Mubarak Wakaso’s free kick went past goalkeeper Mouez Hassen to force the game into extra time.
With no separating factor at the end of extra time, both teams went for the shootout, which Tunisia won 5-4, with Caleb Ekuban missing his kick for Ghana.
“I felt bad because this was a very tough game, the expectations were very high, we did our best, but unfortunately, when it comes to penalties, it can go either way, so it was just unfortunate,” Ghana coach Kwesi Appiah said after the match.
“We had a lot of opportunities to finish the game before 90 minutes. If we had VAR to check on the goal that’s covered automatically, maybe it would have been a different result,” he added.
Tunisia coach Alain Giresse admitted it was a touch match.
“It was a difficult qualification, I can’t say much more – it was the most important, the qualification. We have worked, we have rediscovered a certain level,” he said.
The Carthage Eagles will meet Madagascar in the quarterfinals on July 11.