26 January 2013

Tunisia/Cote d'Ivoire: Early Quarterfinal Berth - Ivory Coast Vs. Tunisia

A win for Ivory Coast or Tunisia, who meet here on Saturday, could secure a pass to the Africa Cup of Nations last eight with one throw of the Group D dice still to roll.

A quarter-final ticket will go to the winners if the other game in the Rustenburg double-header between Algeria and Togo ends in a draw.

Ivory Coast and Tunisia occupy the top two places in the group on the strength of fortunate wins in their opening games.

The Ivorians failed to do justice to their status as 2013 favourites not performing as expected on Monday.

The game was heading for a draw after Yaya Toure's goal was cancelled out by Jonathan Ayite until Gervinho struck two minutes from time to clinch all three points.

On this evidence, if the Ivorians were at school their report would read: "could do a lot better".

On facing Ivory Coast, Tunisia captain Khelil Chammam commented: "For sure it gives us motivation. I hope we can go right to the finish line."

Tunisia's cause has been severely disturbed by the absence of key striker Issam Jemaa, who misses the rest of the competition with a knee injury he sustained in the early stages against Algeria.

Tunisia, meanwhile, have history on their side as they prevailed 3-1 in the sides' only previous Nations Cup meeting in Port Elizabeth in 1996.

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