The Black Stars of Ghana booked a semi-final date with the Chipolopolo of Zambia courtesy a 2-1 victory over a plucky and intemperate Tunisia side in the Quarter finals.
A game of very few chances it was but the headline will certainly be Mathlouti’s howler which gifted the Ghanaians and Dede Ayew the second goal in the first half of extra time.
It was the Stars who made a flying start early in the game with returnee skipper John Mensah planting a header from close range to put the Black Stars ahead.
But the Tunisians fought back late in the first half with a teasing header from Khalifa to draw level.
As the game slid slowly towards a penalty shoot-out, Aymen Mathlouti in what may well be the howler of the tournament parried back into play and on the path of Dede Ayew a Samuel Inkoom cross on the right which was destined for a goal kick. Ayew had the easiest of taps which eventually proved quite crucial for Ghana who are determined to end a 30-year wait for the AFCON trophy.
Then the Tunisian tempers started flaring. They played the most part of the extra time with 10 men after Abdennour elbowed Dede Ayew shortly after the Ghana goal and was given a straight red for his silly, needless assault.
They were lucky to have ended the game with 10 men as Ayew again suffered another horrible challenge, this time with a Tunisian stud heavily planted on his chest and his younger brother Jordan Ayew being head-butted.
But the Stars lived dangerously as the Tunisians did their best in a last gasp attempt to get the equalizer but to no avail.
The Stars qualify at the expense of a determined Tunisian side who gave everything but got nothing in return.
On Wednesday, Ghana will take on Zambia in the first semi-final clash followed by another West African derby between favorites Ivory Coast and Mali.