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Sports

Africa Cup of Nations: Five things we learned on Day 21

media "Late subs worked for Giresse. Why not me?" Algeria coach Djamel Belmadi is trying to take the country to its first Cup of Nations title since 1990. REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh

Dupuis or not Dupuis? That is the question for Madagascar's football bosses after the team run out of steam against Tunisia. And Algeria nearly pay the penalty for missing one against Cote d'Ivoire.

Madagascar go for goal

And then it was all over. Madagascar’s thrilling romp at the Cup of Nations was ended. Tunisia were a tad too savvy and honed for them. Admittedly, the 3-0 score line was harsh. Tunisia’s final goal was a testament to Madagascar’s adventurous spirit. Madagascar were still attacking even when trailing 2-0 in the closing stages and they conceded after a well-executed counterattack. Madagascar coach Nicolas Dupuis was quite blunt after the defeat. “It will be difficult to do better but we have to try harder or 2019 will just be a one off.”

Dupuis done well

What now for Nicolas Dupuis who took a rag tag bunch of unknowns to the last eight of the Cup of Nations? “I’m relatively straight,” said the 51-year-old Frenchman. “My commitment is to Madagascar but I have to find out whether they are still committed to me. Of course there have been some offers but for the moment I want to enjoy what we’ve done so far.”

Cool hand Alain

The daily review is still recovering from the Tunisia v Ghana last 16 match. To such an extent that we have decided to hail the Tunisia coach and coin a verb giresser – a football tactic to so utterly confuse the opposition that they mess up the penalty shoot-out. There was no need for such manoeuvres in Tunisia’s game against Madagascar. Tunisia were superior against a plucky but ultimately limited Madagascar. Giresse is frequently portrayed as a defeat away from oblivion. It will be interesting to see whether a run to the last four in a 24 team tournament is enough to keep him in a job.

Algeria flirt

It was nearly 1,2,3 no more Algerie. They had a penalty in the 50th minute that could have made it 2-0 against Cote d’Ivoire. Baghdad Bounedjah didn’t convert it and were reined in at 1-1 when Jonathan Kodjia thrashed home. The Algeria coach Djamel Belmadi seemed to be making a bid to get a verb made of his name. He removed skipper Riyad Mahrez in the 85th minute and sent on three goal hero Adam Ounas. The switch didn’t lead to an outright winner in the ensuing minutes of regulation or extra-time. But Algeria won the penalty shoot-out.

North/west passage

And at the end of Day 21 we are down to four teams. Algeria, Tunisia, Nigeria and Senegal. Two from the north and two from the west. The western teams are in the ascendance at the moment having won the past three trophies. Answers soon.

 

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