African Cup of Nations – Tunisia, Angola progress
Fri, 01 Feb 18:38:00 2008
Tunisia and Angola both qualified for the African Cup of Nations quarter-finals after playing out a tame 0-0 draw in their final Group D game.
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The two teams finished with five points from three games in the group, Tunisia taking top place on goals scored. It is the first time that Angola have progressed beyond the first round.
Tunisia face Cameroon in their quarter-final in Tamale on Monday and Angola take on defending champions Egypt in Kumasi.
With a stalemate suiting both sides, the match was often played at walking pace and produced precious few chances.
A hot, breathless evening also contributed to one of the worst games of the tournament so far, watched by another disappointingly small crowd at the Tamale Sports Stadium.
Angola coach Luis Oliveira Goncalves made an impassioned defence of his team’s display.
“We are not here to please the media, we are here to bring happiness to the Angolan people,” he said. “The result was fair and the best two teams qualified.
“We have to respect the players who were here today.”
Tunisia coach Roger Lemerre – clearly seen waving his team back into defence in the second half – was more contained.
“It’s a privilege to be in the top eight teams on the continent,” said Lemerre, who steered Tunisia to the title on home soil in 2004.
“The most important thing was to get to the last eight. Tunisia finished first and Angola second.”
Tunisia had an early chance when defender Sabeur Ben Frej headed wide from a corner.
Then striker Amine Chermiti, fielded instead of Francileudo dos Santos, had two good efforts when he tested Lama with a shot on the turn and headed wide at the far post from a free-kick.
Midfielder Kamel Zaiem then produced a blistering 35-yard shot which Lama fisted away and Chermiti headed over on the rebound.
Ze Kalanga had Angola’s best first-half effort when he broke through the defence but was foiled by Hamdi Kasraoui diving at his feet.
In the second half, striker Issam Jomaa wasted a good chance for Tunisia when he mistimed his volley at the far post.
Shortly afterwards, midfielder Maurito had a fierce drive parried away by Kasraoui in the last real chance of the game