REPORT: Equatorial Guinea 2-1 Tunisia
Equatorial Guinea beat Tunisia in extra time, in a match that can only be described as extraordinary, mainly because of a poor refereeing performance.
The first period of the match was largely uneventful. The strategy of both sides was clear from the start. The home nation looked to get the ball to their key men, Javier Balboa and Nsue, who would frequently swap positions. Nsue would pull off to the left and Balboa would drift into the space he vacated and attempt to get into clever positions.
Tunisia on the other hand continued with their 5-4-1 formation with four ball-playing midfielders in the middle, Hocine Ragued, Ferjani Sassi, Wahbi Khazri and finally Yassine Chikhaoui who served as the point in what was a midfield diamond, with Ahmed Akaïchi alone up top.
There was only one real chance in the first half. In the 30th minute an in swinging cross from Akaichi was headed wide by Sassi, who made a run from deep.
In the second period of the game it was Akachi this time who missed an opportunity to put Tunisia ahead after Chikhaoui cut the ball back to him from the left hand side. However his shot was saved by Felipe Ovono, who made the save look better than it really was.
In the 69th minute Akaichi finally gave his side the lead. Hamza Mathlouthi crossed the ball in for the Esperance man to finish, after a clever run towards the near post.
After the Akaichi goal is when the drama started to unfold. Equatorial Guinea were awarded a very soft penalty after substitute Ivan Bolado was apparently upended in the box in the 90th minute. Balboa sent Aymen Mathlouthi the wrong way and drilled the ball into the bottom right hand corner of the goal to send the match into extra time.
It was in the 101st minute that Balboa then scored the winner. His curled direct free-kick arrowed into the top corner of the goal.
Tunisia go home in disgrace after intimidating the referee after the final whistle and many will be suspicious of the way the hosts have managed to advance after a dodgy refereeing performance.