Footy Times

VAR madness and missed penalties as Senegal edge Tunisia to reach Afcon final

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Senegal progressed to the final of the Africa Cup Of Nations for the second time after sinking Tunisia 1-0 thanks to an extra time own goal by Dylan Bronnon.

In an incident packed game, both sides had penalties saved in normal time before Bronn inadvertently headed the only goal of the game.

Tunisia should have taken the lead after winning the first penalty in the 73rd, when Ferjani Sassi’s shot hit the upper arm of Senegal defender Kalidou Koulibaly as he threw himself in the way to block it.

Sassi took the penalty himself but his weak shot was easily saved by Senegal goalkeeper Alfred Gomis.

The drama continued as Senegal got a chance of their own almost straight after, with Ismaila Sarr hacked down by Bronn in the area.

Henri Saivet took the spot-kick instead of captain Mane, who missed two penalties earlier in the tournament.

Saivet’s penalty was low and hard to the bottom right corner, but Hassen dived full-stretch and brilliantly deflected it away with his left hand.

Hassen was responsible for giving away the game-deciding goal, though, and deciding Tunisia’s fate.

In extra time, he went to punch away a free kick swung over from the right wing, but only forced it onto Bronn’s head and it rebounded into the net.

Drama and controversy continued in the last six minutes as Cheikhou Kouyate headed a cross onto the hand of Idrissa Gueye inside the box and the referee initially pointed to the spot for the third penalty of the match but after watching the VAR monitor, he changed his mind and reversed his own decision.

Senegal has never won the African Cup and has made just one final, in 2002 when the team also reached the quarterfinals of the World Cup. Current Senegal coach Aliou Cisse was a member of the 2002 team and he dropped to his knees with arms held aloft in celebration at the final whistle.

In the final Senegal will face Algeria who beat Nigeria with a last gasp free-kick goal by Riyad Mehrez in a thrilling contest.

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