Africa: Guinea and Tunisia Make It Into the Quarterfinals of CAN 2006
|Date: Jan 25 2007|
Guinea has joined Côte d'Ivoire and Cameroon in the quarterfinals of the 25th African Cup of Nations after recording their second win against an impressive Zambian team.
Pascal Feidouno, who plays for AS Saint-Etienne, will remember this game for many years - he not only scored two goals, but more importantly, secured qualification for the second round for his country.
However, it was Zambia's "Chipolopolo boys," the nickname of the national team, strengthened by three players absent from the first game, who dictated play in the first half. They were more resolved, clicked better, and played more aggressively on offense.
Coach Patrice Neveu's Guinea appeared overwhelmed by the fury and determination of the onslaught. Zambia's Katongo brothers, Christopher and Felix, were extremely active on the flanks and were more than a handful for the defense built around skipper Dianbobo Baldé. Chamanga James, the other Zambian attacker, was involved in two goal attempts (20th and 25th mins).
The domination by the "Greens"- the color of the Zambian jerseys - increased minute by minute and yielded dividend when the seasoned captain, Elijah Tana, leapt higher than the defense and headed the ball beautifully into the far post off a corner kick (1-0, 32nd min).
The Zambians, energized by the goal, dominated the game, but shot poorly and missed two clear goal-scoring opportunities (34th and 35th mins). Coach Kalusha Bwalya was quick to blame the poor shooting on inexperience and bad luck. "My boys played very well," Bwalya said. "We dominated some of the time, especially in the first half and scored but they came back strongly in the second half. My boys really lacked experience."
Inexperience perhaps explains the foul by goalkeeper Kolala Georges in a one-on-one situation with Fodé Mansaré, who had beaten the defense. Feindouno, who took the penalty kick, gave the keeper no chance for a save. (1-1, 74th min)
Just like in their game against South Africa, Guinea sensed victory and applied pressure in the dying minutes of the game. The match was headed for a draw until Feindouno, in stoppage time, received a back-heel from Ibrahim Yattara and unleashed a shot that hit the underside of the crossbar before entering the net.
With that goal, Guinea secured its second victory (2-1, 92nd min). Patrice Neveu, the Guinean coach, was on cloud nine. "It is a mission accomplished for us, as we have achieved our aim of qualifying for the second round," Neveu said. "We will now try and advance even further."
In Thursday's other match, Tunisia beat South Africa 2-0. Tunisia, which has been impressive since the beginning of the competition, has thus qualified for the quarterfinals.
The Tunisians dominated the match, and had a 51 percent ball possession as against South Africa's 49 percent. South Africa's Benny McCarthy, Siyanbonga Nomvete and Sibusiso Zuma gave everything they had, but lacked the team cohesion and the tactical solidness of their opponents.
"My team played well but Tunisia's experience made the difference," Ted Dimitu, South Africa's coach, said. "I am not down this evening because we have a young team and they will go far with experience."
Roger Lemerre, Tunisia's French coach said, "Victory is what matters, since it allows us to progress. We were afraid of the South African team who have beaten us before here in Tunisia. We are more than determined to defend our title."
Translated and adapted by Gaddiel Baah