Thursday’s matches gave fans something we have not yet seen at the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations: a matchday with zero draws.
In the earlier kickoff Tunisia pulled off a shock 2-1 victory over Northern Africa neighbors Algeria.
Both sides saw plenty of chances in the first half but neither were able to capitalize as both goalies seemed to be on their best game.
Tunisia broke the deadlock just five minutes into the second half when Youssef Msakni saw his cross deflect off Algerian defender Aissa Mandi, loop over the goalkeeper’s head and nestle into the right side netting of the goal for an own goal.
Msakni was involved again shortly after when he sent a looping ball into the Algerian half of the field where defender Faouzi Ghoulam cost his team dearly. Ghoulam attempted to head the ball back to his goalkeeper but did not get enough on it. Tunisia and Sunderland midfielder Wahbi Khazri took full advantage of Ghoulam’s mistake latching onto the poor pass back and going through on goal. Immediately as Khazri entered the 18-yard box, he was clipped from behind by Ghoulam, who was lucky to only receive a yellow card, and awarded a penalty. Naim Sliti stepped up for Tunisia and sent the goalkeeper the wrong way securing a 2-0 lead for his side.
Algeria pulled one back in injury time through a fantastic one touch finish from Sofiane Hanni, but it was not enough to secure any points for his side. Leicester City’s duo of Riyad Mahrez and Islam Slimani could do little to help their side avoid defeat.
The loss could prove devastating for Algeria’s chances in the remainder of the competition as they now sit in third place in Group B tied on points with Zimbabwe.
Senegal were victors yet again as they defeated Zimbabwe 2-0 in a game that Senegal really should have had three or four more. Zimbabwe were lucky to concede only two goals as Senegal peppered the goal throughout, recording 24 shots.
It didn’t take the Lions of Teranga long to get things started in this one. In fact, they found themselves 2-0 up after only 13 minutes.
Liverpool talisman Sadio Mane scored his second of the competition just six minutes in when Lazio forward Keita Balde Diao sent in a low, dangerous cross to the back post where an unmarked Mane had the simple task of tapping the ball into the open net.
An incredible 20-yard free kick from Henri Saivet saw Senegal go two ahead just seven minutes later. From then on it was all Senegal with Zimbabwe seeing some, but few, chances in front of net.
On Monday Algeria will have it all to play for as they meet Group B table toppers Senegal. With a spot already secured in the knockout stages, Senegal may decide to rest some of their top players giving Algeria an even greater chance to remain in the competition. Both Zimbabwe and Tunisia also have an opportunity to join Senegal in the knockout stages, and they will do battle to determine who will be packing their bags and who will be going through.