Football: Tunisia, South Africa complete Cup of Nations last-16 line-up

Tunisia's Dylan Bronn (R) battles for the ball with Mauretania's Adama Ba.
Tunisia's Dylan Bronn (R) battles for the ball with Mauretania's Adama Ba.PHOTO: DPA

CAIRO (AFP) - Tunisia and South Africa filled the final two places in the Africa Cup of Nations last-16 draw on Tuesday (July 2) after a tense finish to the group stage.

Already-qualified Mali defeated Angola 1-0 through an Amadou Haidara thunderbolt to win Group E and eliminate the losers from the competition.

Tunisia, ranked second in Africa behind Senegal, could only draw 0-0 with debutants Mauritania but the point secured second place behind Mali.

Mali won the group with seven points followed by Tunisia with three and Angola and Mauritania with two each.

Angola losing meant South Africa sneaked in, joining Guinea, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Benin as the best four third-place teams.

Mali will face the Ivory Coast in the last-16 stage while Tunisia meet Ghana, who are chasing a seventh consecutive top-four finish in the Cup of Nations.

Highlight of the eight second round matches is be the clash of defending champions Cameroon and Nigeria, who have won the competition eight times between them.

Mali made eight changes from the team that drew against Tunisia with captain Abdoulay Diaby and ace striker Moussa Marega among those on the bench.

Angola started with star winger Hermenegildo Geraldo after bringing him on as a second-half substitute in draws against Tunisia and Mauritania.

The countries were involved in the greatest Cup of Nations comeback with Mali wiping out a four-goal deficit on 77 minutes to draw 4-4 with 2010 hosts Angola in Luanda.

There was only one goal during the first half in Ismailia with Amadou Haidara putting the Malian Eagles ahead on 37 minutes.

After a patient build-up just outside the Angolan box, Haidara unleashed an unstoppable shot that flew wide of goalkeeper Tony Cabaca and into the corner of the net.

Mali should have been more than one goal ahead by half-time as unmarked Kalifa Coulibaly headed wide from close range.

Strangely lethargic during the opening half, Angola were much more assertive after half-time and troubled the Mali defence regularly with making the crucial breakthrough.