Monday, February 06, 2012

African Cup of Nations: Goalkeeper blunder gifts Ghana place in semis

Mali players rejoice
Ghana and Mali scraped through to the African Cup of Nations semifinals on Sunday, as Tunisia and Gabon fell in agonizing fashion. Ghana beat Tunisia 2-1 in extra time after goalkeeper Aymen Mathlouthi's blunder gifted the Black Stars a 101st-minute winner in a tense, bad tempered quarterfinal at Stade de Franceville that the Tunisians had controlled before Mathlouthi's decisive error. Mali beat co-host Gabon 5-4 in a penalty shootout in the quarterfinal in Libreville after they were level at 1-1 at the end of 120 minutes. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Gabon's hero of the group stage, missed the decisive spot kick and dissolved into tears in the middle of a huddle of players as the home team's tournament ended in bitter disappointment. Ghana faces Zambia and Mali plays Ivory Coast in Wednesday's semifinals, leaving top-ranked African teams and tournament favorites Ghana and Ivory Coast still on course to meet in the Feb. 12 final.

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