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Tunisia ends Madagascar’s dream run to set up semi-final clash with Senegal2 minutes read

Madagascar were trying to become the first newcomers since South Africa in 1996 to reach the semi-finals

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Tunisia ends Madagascar's dream run to set up semi-final clash with Senegal
Tunisia players celebrates scoring their side's second goal during the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations quarter final soccer match between Madagascar and Tunisia at the Al-Salam Stadium. Photo: Gehad Hamdy/dpa

Tunisia ended Madagascar’s dream Africa Cup of Nations run in the quarter-finals on Thursday with a 3-0 win over the tournament debutants in Cairo.

Ferjani Sassi’s heavily deflected strike gave Tunisia the lead early in the second half at Al-Salam Stadium and Youssef Msakni squeezed home a second on 60 minutes.

Naim Sliti added a third in injury time to send Tunisia through to a semi-final showdown with Sadio Mane’s Senegal, with the Carthage Eagles into the last four for the first time since clinching their only title when they hosted the 2004 edition.

Tunisia boss, Alain Giresse recalled Wahbi Khazri in attack as the lone change to the side that overcame Ghana in a last-16 penalty shootout, while Marco Ilaimaharitra returned from suspension as Madagascar fielded the same team used throughout the group phase.

Tunisia, the continent’s second-ranked side at 25th in the world, had reached the quarter-finals here without winning a single game following four successive draws.

After matches in Suez and Ismailia, this was a first Cairo outing for the Carthage Eagles, who controlled possession early but didn’t truly threaten until a sweetly struck Khazri free-kick was superbly flicked onto the bar by Madagascar goalkeeper Melvin Adrien.

Ghailene Chaalali forced Adrien to push an awkward low shot behind while Mouez Hassen, apologetic after his angry reaction to being substituted ahead of the shootout in the last round, was largely untested bar from a long-range Ibrahim Amada effort.

Madagascar were trying to become the first newcomers since South Africa in 1996 to reach the semi-finals, but their hopes were effectively extinguished by the hour.

Tunisia ends Madagascar's dream run to set up semi-final clash with Senegal
Madagascar’s players react after losing the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (CAN) quarter final football match between Madagascar and Tunisia at the Al Salam stadium in Cairo on July 11, 2019. (Photo by Khaled DESOUKI / AFP)

Khazri saw a goal disallowed for offside straight after half-time, but Sassi struck minutes later when his tame shot from the edge of the area hit Thomas Fontaine and spun past a helpless Adrien.

Msakni then promptly doubled Tunisia’s advantage, jumping on a rebound to slip the ball low beyond Adrien moments after he parried a shot from Khazri.

Charles Andriamahitsinoro, who scored twice for Madagascar in the group stage, looked to be through on goal after a long punt forward but failed to muster a shot. Amada was unable to reproduce his wonder strike from the DR Congo tie as he sliced wide from distance.

This was the first competitive meeting between the countries in almost two decades, and while Nicolas Dupuis has transformed Madagascar from a team once ranked 190th, Sliti’s injury-time goal ensured it was the end of a remarkable adventure for the ‘Barea’.

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North Africa Sports

Algeria’s Nabil Bentaleb joins Newcastle United

25-year-old completes loan move to Premier League club from Schalke 04

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Newcastle United have completed the signing of Algeria international midfielder, Nabil Bentaleb from Schalke 04 on loan for the rest of the season, with an option to make the deal permanent.

The 25-year-old, who previously played for Tottenham Hotspur in the Premier League, represented his country at the 2014 FIFA World Cup and the 2015 and 2017 Africa Cup of Nations.

Speaking shortly after he was unveiled, Bentaleb told nufc.co.uk: “I’m very happy to come back to the Premier League, especially with a club such as Newcastle.

“The project really interested me. I wanted absolutely to come back to the Premier League. The coach had some trust in me and the club also – I saw that straight away – and I think it’s the perfect move for me.”

While Manager of the Magpies, Steve Bruce gave his thoughts after the Algerian was presented to the media: “He’s somebody who I paid particular attention to when he was at Spurs, when he broke through and got a big money move to Germany.

“He’s played at the highest level now for the last four or five years but he will come in hungry and feeling he has something to prove and will give us the competition we obviously need.

“With the numbers that we’ve got at the minute, he’s got a bit of experience and I think people will enjoy watching him play. He’ll come into the squad and I’m sure he’ll be a good acquisition for us.

“The fact that he’s played in the Premier League before helps, because we know that he can play and knows what the demands of the Premier League are. He’s gone from the Premier League to Schalke and played in the Champions League as well, so we’re delighted to get him. It’s a great signing.”

Bentaleb made 66 appearances while with Tottenham and scored his only goal against Newcastle United in a League Cup tie in December 2014 – before making the move to Schalke in the German Bundesliga in August 2016.

He has made 97 appearances for the Bundesliga outfit scoring 19 goals in the process.

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Nigeria suffer defeat at ICC U-19 Cricket World Cup

Junior Yellow Greens went down by 10 wickets to Australia in Group B

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Nigeria’s U-19 cricket national team suffered defeat in their opening game of the 2020 ICC U-19 Cricket World Cup.

The West Africans went down by 10 wickets to Australia in the Group B encounter at the Diamond Oval in Kimberly, South Africa.

Nigeria elected to bat first after winning the toss. Runsewe Suleimon and Miracle Ikaigbe opened the batting for the team and after two balls, Suleimon was out.

The Junior Yellow Greens, as Nigeria’s U-19 cricket national team are fondly called, were 12 runs for the loss of three wickets in five overs and after 10 overs were 28 runs for the loss of three wickets.

This was Nigeria’s first defeat after a run of ten consecutive matches without tasting defeat, dating back to 2018.

Australia had Tanveer Sangha as their star performer with an impressive haul of five wickets for 14 runs in 10 overs with four maidens in the process.

Australia finished the match with 10 wickets intact scoring 62 runs.

The result means Nigeria are bottom of the group with Australia, who had lost their opening match to the West Indies on Friday taking top spot.

Nigeria who picked the sole ticket from the African zone qualifiers, have been placed in a difficult group with Australia, West Indies and England.

They will take on West Indies in their second group game on Wednesday.

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East Africa News

Aston Villa sign Tanzania captain Mbwana Samatta

27-year-old becomes first Tanzanian to play in the English Premier League

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English Premier league side Aston Villa have completed the signing of Tanzanian striker Mbwana Samatta for £10m on a four-and-half-year deal, subject to a work permit and international clearance.

The 27-year-old scored 10 goals for Genk in all competitions this season including a goal against Liverpool at Anfield in the UEFA Champions League group stage.

Villa manager Dean Smith hailed the signing “I’m really pleased we have managed to bring Mbwana to the club, he has scored goals throughout his career and I’m looking forward to working with him.”

Samatta makes history as the first Tanzanian to play in the Premier League but will be unavailable for Villa’s home match against Watford on Tuesday.

Samatta who is captain of the Tanzanian national side expressed his joy at making the move “I’m so excited, it’s a huge step for me in my career. It’s a big step for the country too. Everyone was looking for a Tanzanian to play in the Premier League.

“I know a lot about Aston Villa. I used to watch Gabby Agbonlahor when he was here.”

Samatta is Villa’s third signing of the January transfer window following loan signings of midfielder Danny Drinkwater from Chelsea and goalkeeper Pepe Reina from AC Milan.

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