31 January 2013

Africa: Tunisia, Algeria Exit Africa Cup

Rustenburg — On their last night in South Africa, Tunisia lost a chance to advance and Algeria surprised their fans.

Maghreb participation in the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations (CAN) finished on Wednesday (January 31st), leaving players and coaches with a lot of second-guessing about this year's run.

Tunisia's CAN campaign ended with their 1-1 draw against Togo.

Khaled Mouelhi scored from a penalty (30') but the Carthage Eagles needed to win in their final Group D clash.

"Our elimination was extremely harsh and bitter, especially as the team put in a better level of performance and created many scoring opportunities," Tunisia coach Sami Trabelsi said after the game.

"We could have qualified if we had scored from these opportunities, but such is football," the coach said.

Tunisian defender Walid El Hichri described Tunisia's elimination as a major disappointment.

"I don't know what to say," he said. "Today, we frankly wasted our chance to qualify, although it was within our reach."

The other remaining Maghreb side - Algeria - exited CAN with honour on Wednesday, after holding Cup favourites Côte d'Ivoire to a 2-2 draw.

The Greens failed to reach the next round after losing Group D matches to Tunisia and Togo.

Sofiane Feghouli put the Greens in the lead in the 70th minute. El Arbi Hillel Soudani scored another goal in the 75th minute. Drogba responded for Cote d'Ivoire in the 77th minute, and then teammate Wilfried Bone scored the equaliser in the 81st minute.

"We were leading by 2 goals, but we passed up the opportunity to win the match because of lack of experience," Algeria coach Vahid Halilhodzic said after the elimination.

"I predict a bright future for this team," he added. "It'll be one of the best teams in Africa in two years," he said.

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