AFCON 2017: Tunisia fire four past Zimbabwe to progress

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Tunisia’s players celebrate after scoring a goal during the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations group A football match between Zimbabwe and Tunisia at the Stade de l’Amitie Sino-Gabonaise in Libreville on January 23, 2017.
GABRIEL BOUYS / AFP

Tunisia became the first team to score four goals in a 2017 Africa Cup of Nations match as they beat Zimbabwe 4-2 in Libreville Monday to seal a quarter-finals place.

The Carthage Eagles, who led 4-1 at half-time, finished Group B runners-up behind Senegal and play Burkina Faso at the same stadium Saturday.

Naim Sliti, Youssef Msakni, Taha Yassine Khenissi and Wahbi Khazri scored for Tunisia and Knowledge Musona and substitute Tendai Ndoro for Zimbabwe.

Senegal topped the Group B standings with seven points followed by Tunisia with six, Algeria two and Zimbabwe one.

Tunisia began the match at the Stade de l’Amitie knowing a draw would suffice to clinch second place and reach the knockout phase.

But there was never a hint from the north Africans that they were playing for a point and Sliti scored via a deflected shot on nine minutes.

Sliti set up the second for Msakni on 22 minutes and Khenissi beat goalkeeper Tatenda Mkuruva at his near post for the third Tunisian goal on 36 minutes.

A superb Musona goal three minutes before half-time offered Zimbabwe a glimmer of hope only for Khazri to convert a 45th-minute penalty.

The tempo inevitably slowed after half-time with both teams playing for the third time in nine days and Ndoro scored the lone second-half goal.

“We regained possession well during the first half and created scoring chances,” said Poland-born Tunisia coach Henryk Kasperczak.

“It was a satisfactory performance and I congratulate my players. Now we face Burkina Faso, a quality team with good technique and attacking combinations.”

Zimbabwe coach Callisto Pasuwa said: “We lost the match in the early stages due to a lack of concentration.

“I think we have potential, but must prepare better. A lesson from this tournament is that the players have to remain focused throughout games.”

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