Own goal hands Senegal place in Africa Cup of Nations final

Mahrez and Mane miss out on AFCON semi-final combined XI

Mahrez and Mane miss out on AFCON semi-final combined XI

A weird own goal in extra time handed Senegal a 1-0 victory over Tunisia in the drama-filled first of Sunday's Africa Cup of Nations semifinals, securing them a place against either Algeria or Nigeria in Friday's decider.

These two teams were at the World Cup previous year so it's maybe not a huge surprise to see them in the last four of the Africa Cup of Nations.

Benin and Madagascar's resilient and hubristic run was also halted in the process, though both leave the tournament having won many hearts with their sense of sheer optimism about heading somewhere, when many thought they would be gone earlier. Nicolas Pepe, who scored 22 league goals for Lille last season, has yet to fire, although with his Ivory Coast side meeting Algeria in the quarter-finals on Thursday that could change.

Senegal are the highest-ranked African country on the Federation Internationale de Football Association ranking.

Senegal lost narrowly to hosts Egypt two years later, and that was the last time they featured in a Cup of Nations semi-final. Head coach Djamel Belmadi kicked a player out of the squad for a relatively minor off-field issue pre-tournament and that appears to have set the tone. We must make use of our opportunities to score and cut back on our mistakes. "We were very solid, we played a very good match", he said.

Journalists from the respective countries joined in the verbal exchange. "We will try our best".

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The Algerian press battalion clapped loudly in response forcing the Caf media officer overseeing the function to intervene and tell all the journalists present to do their job and stop openly showing their support for their respective national teams.

Extra time was looming until Algeria, who have not been to the final since winning the tournament on home soil in 1990, won a free-kick on the edge of the box. They played at the World Cup in 1982 and 1986 and some great games, but even those players didn't win it in 1990.

"It is a semifinal game and we must be well prepared much more than normal".

"The players here want to create their own history too".

This promises to be an intriguing encounter.

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