Promotions

South Africa 0-0 Tunisia – Bafana Bafana through to Africa Cup Of Nations last 16 as Eagles of Carthage exit

South Africa's defender #14 Mothobi Mvala and Tunisia's forward #24 Seifeddine Jaziri

South Africa booked their place in the last 16 of the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations following a battling 0-0 draw against Tunisia, a result that sees the latter crash out of the tournament having finished bottom of Group E. In a game of few meaningful chances, Bafana Banafa did enough to keep the 2004 winners at bay and advance to the next round of the competition.

Tunisia joined Ghana and Algeria on the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations scrapheap after going out of the competition with barely a whimper. They needed to beat South Africa to reach the last 16 but were held to a goalless draw in a sluggish match of few chances.

Tunisia’s only clear opportunity came in the 89th minute, when the substitute Haythem Jouini headed over from six yards. That led to a brief injury-time flurry, but for the rest of the game the Eagles of Carthage played with a peculiar lack of intensity.
South Africa created the better openings before that, although neither keeper had a particularly difficult save to make in what is surely the dullest game of the tournament to date.
A goal at the death would have put Tunisia through and South Africa out. Instead, with Namibia and Mali also drawing 0-0, South Africa finished second in Group E. They will play the winner of Group F, possibly Morocco, next Tuesday.
TALKING POINT – GROUP E ENDS WITH A WHIMPER
After 32 games without a goalless draw, Afcon 2023 was overdue a 0-0. It got two at the same time: Namibia and Mali, the other teams in Group E, also failed to score. Unlike Tunisia, that result was good enough to send them through.
It was a final round of fixtures to forget – but after the extraordinary drama of Mozambique v Ghana, Cape Verde v Egypt and Guinea v Cameroon, we can’t really complain about an overall lack of entertainment.
PLAYER OF THE MATCH – ALI AL-ABDI (TUNISIA)
For much of the second half, Tunisia looked like a team who didn’t realise they needed a win. There was one honourable exception: the Caen left-back Ali Al-Abdi made a series of marauding runs down the left wing and put in a number of dangerous crosses.
One piece of skill stood out: in one smooth movement, he controlled a crossfield pass on the chest and volleyed a cross into the middle, but there was nobody on the end of it.
PLAYER RATINGS
South Africa – Williams 6; Mudau 6, Kekana 6, Mvala 7, Modiba 7; Mokoena 6, Sithole 7, Zwane 6; Morena 6, Makgopa 5, Tau 7.
Substitutes: Mobbie 6, Maseko 6, Lepasa 5.
Tunisia – Ben Said 7; Kechrida 7, Meriah 6, Talbi 7, Abdi 8; Skhiri 6, Laidouni 6, Rafia 6; Ben Slimane 5, Achouri 5, Jaziri 6.
Substitutes: Ben Romdhane 6, Msakni 6, Jouini 5, Ltaief 6, Sliti 7.