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Senegal beat Tunisia 1-0 in extra time to reach Africa Cup of Nations final

Pierre Rene-Worms, France Médias Monde.

Senegal and Sadio Mane are through to the African Cup of Nations final after beating Tunisia 1-0 in an extra-time thriller on Sunday.

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Senegal won with an own-goal in the 100th minute when goalkeeper Mouez Hassen pushed a free kick onto the head of defender Dylan Bronn and the ball bounced back into the Tunisian goal.

In a game of high drama, both teams missed penalties within a few minutes of each other in regulation time at the 30 June Stadium in Cairo.

Tunisia was then given another penalty late in extra time only for referee Bamlak Tessema Weyesa to check the VAR TV screen on the sidelines and dramatically reverse his decision -- to the dismay of the Tunisians.

Senegal and Sadio Mane will play for a first African Cup title on Friday. Nigeria faces Algeria in the other semifinal.

Tunisia should have gone ahead after winning the first penalty in the 73rd, when Ferjani Sassi's shot hit the upper arm of Senegal defender Kalidou Koulibaly as he threw himself in the way to block it.

Sassi took the penalty himself but it was weak and Senegal goalkeeper Alfred Gomis saved easily.

Senegal had its chance almost straight after, with Ismaila Sarr hacked down by Bronn in the area.

Henri Saivet took the spot-kick instead of Mane, who missed two penalties earlier in the tournament.

Saivet's penalty was low and hard to the bottom right corner, but Hassen dived full-stretch and brilliantly deflected it away with his left hand.

Hassen was responsible for giving away the game-deciding goal, though, and deciding Tunisia's fate.

In extra time, he went to punch away a free kick swung over from the right wing, but only forced it onto Bronn's head and it rebounded into the net.

The most contentious moment of a scintillating game came right near the end after Senegal's Idrissa Gueye was initially penalized for another handball in the area. The ball was headed down by a teammate and struck Gueye's hand as he tried to pull it away at the side of his body.

Ethiopian referee Weyesa awarded the penalty, then decided to make the long run over to the sidelines to check with the VAR video review system, which is being used at the African Cup for the first time.

After a tense delay, he ran back onto the field waving his arms to signal no penalty.

Senegal has never won the African Cup and has made just one final, in 2002 when the team also reached the quarterfinals of the World Cup. Current Senegal coach Aliou Cisse was a member of the 2002 team and he dropped to his knees with arms held aloft in celebration at the final whistle.

(AP)

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