AFCON 2017: Tunisia crush Zimbabwe, proceed to knock-out stages

AFCON 2017: Tunisia crush Zimbabwe, proceed to knock-out stages
Tunisia are set to meet Burkino Faso in the quarter-finals on a day when fellow North Africans Algeria - one of the favourites for the tournament - were eliminated
2 min read
24 Jan, 2017
Tunisia and Sunderland midfielder Wahbi Khazri celebrates after scoring from the spot [Getty]
Tunisia arrived in the last match of Africa Cup of Nations Group A against Zimbabwe knowing that a win would secure their progress to the knock-out stages.

In the early stages of the game both sides prioritised attacking, with defensive duties taking secondary importance. 

Presentable chances were squandered at both ends, with Tunisia strikes Wahbi Khazri in the thick of action, before the deadlock was broken on nine minutes when Tunisia's attacking midfielder Naim Sliti scored from distance after his strike took a major deflection off a defender leaving Zimbabwean goalkeeper Tatenda Mkuruva wrong-footed.

In the 22nd minute Tunisia made it 2-0 after a fine exchange of passes between Youssef Msakni and Taha Yassine Khenissi created space for Msakni to slot home.

The Eagles of Carthage then had a goal chalked off for offside before netting once again in the 36th minute through Khenissi, the Esperance de Tunis striker.

Zimbabe grabbed a goal after an individual effort from Knowledge Musona in the 43rd minute.

However, any hopes of a come-back were to prove short-lived and in the 45th minute Sunderland attacking midfielder Wahbi Khazri converted a penalty to make it 4-1 effectively putting the tie to rest before half time. 

In the second half Zimbabwe scored a consolation goal on the counter-attack in the 56th minute through Tendai Ndoro after Khama Billiat had lead the ball out of defence.

However, it was to prove too little too late with the score finishing 4-2 and Zimbabwe bowing out of the tournament. 

Tunisia, who finished second in the group to Senegal, above Algeria, are set to face Burkino Faso in the next round, with hopes high of proceeding to the semi-finals. 

Meanwhile, Algeria - one of the favourites for the tournament - were knocked out after a 2-2 draw with Senegal safter failing to win a single match at the tournament.

Uri Levy runs the popular football blog BabaGol, which covers football and politics focusing on the Middle East. Follow him on Twitter, and read his blog here