Tunisia ended Madagascar’s sensational Africa Cup of Nations run with a 3-0 spanking in their quarterfinal on Thursday.
Madagascar, a country with little football tradition and making their first appearance at the finals, held out until the second half when they were undone by Ferjani Sassi’s deflected shot.
Youssef Msakni added a second on the hour for the Carthage Eagles, ranked 25th in the world against Madagascar’s 107th, and substitute Naim Sliti finished it off on the break in stoppage time to earn them a semifinal against Senegal on Sunday.
It was Tunisia’s first win in the tournament after playing draws in their previous four matches at the tournament, beating Ghana on penalties in the last 16.
Madagascar, home country of CAF president Ahmed Ahmed, had beaten Nigeria on their way to winning their group and then knocked out Democratic Republic of Congo on penalties in the previous round.
They however hit a brick wall against streetwise Tunisia.
After a goalless first-half, Wahbi Khazri had a goal disallowed for offside at the start of the second half but it was not long before Tunisia went ahead.
Sassi’s shot in the 52nd minute took a wicked deflection off Thomas Fontaine to completely wrongfoot Melvin Adrien in Madagascar goal.
Eight minutes later, Tunisia struck again. Adrien saved Khazri’s shot but was powerless when Msakni collected the rebound, slipped past a defender and planted the ball in the bottom corner.
Although Madagascar kept pushing forward, their remarkable campaign ended with something of a whimper with Sliti’s breakaway goal in stoppage time.