All it took was an own goal in the 100th-minute by Dylan Bronn to make all the difference on the night.
In the semi-final of the Africa Cup of Nations between Senegal and Tunisia, the game was level at full time, with both teams squandering the chances they were given. Senegal come out on top in extra time through an anti-climatic own goal from Tunisia’s Dylan Bronn.
The game was a nail-biting affair and did not disappoint at all. Saved penalties at the 75th and 81st-minute mark Tunisia and Senegal respectively lead the game into the extra 30 minutes. But the controversies did not end there.
Senegal finally were ahead, courtesy to the own goal and mishandling by the shot-stopper Hassen Mouez. And when things were downhill and just seven minutes remaining on the clock, Tunisia were awarded another spot-kick only to be turned down through VAR.
From the astonishing first semi-final of AFCON 2019, here are the talking points.
Match Highlights: Senegal 1-0 Tunisia
5. Were Tunisia hard done by the loss?
The Tunisian defence restricted the favourites, Senegal to no shots on target over the course of the 90 minutes. Premier League top scorer, Sadio Mane was smothered each time he approached the goal.
Tunisia conceded an unfortunate own goal in the first half of extra time as the ball ricocheted off of Dylan Bronn and into the net. Hardly what the resilient Tunisian defence deserved after a commendable game.
4. Was the match a game of two misses?
Tunisia were given a fortuitous penalty after the ball bounced off of Kalidou Koulibaly in the area. However, Ferjani Sassi’s weak shot was smothered by Andre Gomis in the Senegal goal, denying the Tunisians a goal against the run of play.
However, no sooner had Senegal conceded a penalty than they were awarded one at the other end. Senegal’s Saivet also saw his efforts saved, leaving both sides to rue their missed chances.
3. Has Sadio Mane taken a step closer into putting himself into contention for the Ballon d’Or?
Liverpool attacker, Sadio Mane has had a stellar 2018-2019, ending up as the top scorer in the Premier League, lifting the Champion’s League and reaching the finals of the AFCON. Mane has now put him in serious contention for the Golden Ball, that is currently held by Real Madrid’s Luka Modric.
2. Was the match a testimony to the importance of VAR in modern football?
When Tunisia were awarded a penalty in the 113th minute of extra time, the world held its breath as the referee was urged to consult the Video Assistant Referee to ensure that he had made the right decision. The penalty was overturned and the right verdict was reached. Had it not been for VAR, the game may well have had a very different outcome.
1. Does Senegal reaching the AFCON final, signal the start of a new era in African Football?
Senegal successfully reached only their second AFCON final in their history, with the likes of Sadio Mane and Koulibaly leading the team by example. Senegal have never won the AFCON. A victory in the competition would mean that there was a new giant in the African game.