Caleb Ekuban missed his penalty kick as Tunisia defeated Ghana 5-4 on penalties on Monday to end a 54-year Africa Cup of Nations losing streak against the Black Stars.
After a 1-1 draw following extra time in Ismailia, Tunisia scored from all five penalties – with Ferjani Sassi converting the decisive spot-kick while Ghana substitute Ekuban had his attempt saved by Farouk Ben Mustapha, who came off the bench especially for the shootout.
On Thursday, the Carthage Eagles play giantkillers Madagascar in a quarterfinal in Cairo with the winners meeting Senegal or Benin for a place in the July 19 final.
Losing on penalties ended a Ghana run of six consecutive top-four finishes in the Cup of Nations and puts the future of coach Kwesi Appiah in doubt.
After a cagey opening period, Andre Ayew was convinced he had put the Black Stars ahead on 41 minutes when he backheeled a cross into the net, but the referee ruled that Thomas Partey handled in the build-up.
Replays showed the ball touching the chin of the Atletico Madrid midfielder rather than a hand and the disallowed goal infuriated the Ghanaians.
Midway through the second half Tunisia coach Alain Giresse sent on Wahbi Khazri, and he needed just five minutes to make an impact with his brilliant backheel creating space for Wajdi Kechrida to cross and Taha Khenissi scored with a shot that went in off the near post.
There was more drama however as in the first minute of stoppage time, the Blacks Stars drew level when an attempted headed clearance by substitute Rema Bedoui looped over Hassen Mouez and into the net.
The sides could not be separated after extra-time, leading to penalties where Ben Mustapha emerged Tunisia’s hero.