Mmegi Online :: We did it!
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Last Updated
Friday 19 July 2019, 12:42 pm.
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We did it!

The Zebras put one foot in Equatorial Guinea and Gabon when they edged out Tunisia 1-0 in an Africa Cup of Nations qualifier at the UB Stadium yesterday afternoon.
By Staff Writer Sat 20 Jul 2019, 14:51 pm (GMT +2)
Mmegi Online :: We did it!








Once again, it was Jerome Ramatlhakwana who popped up with the winner at the end of the first half to take his tally in the qualifiers to four.

The Zebras survived several scary moments and it came as no surprise when the UB Stadium erupted into delirium at the end of an absorbing 90 minutes. It was not a classic encounter but that was inconsequential to the thousands of Zebras' supporters who  crammed into the UB Stadium.

While mathematically the Zebras can still finish outside the top two spots, they can qualify even if they fail to win the remaining three matches depending on other results in Group K.

President Ian Khama, who was at the UB Stadium, watched as the gallant Zebras repelled whatever threat the Tunisians threw at them.

The first 45 minutes belonged to the visitors who exchanged immaculate passes but without penetration. The fans remained muted in the opening 20 minutes as both sides failed to have a crack at goal.

There were, however, glimpses of what was to come when Joel Mogorosi's pace on the left took him past the Tunisian defence in the fourth minute. But the Township Rollers' skipper put his cross behind the goal.  A minute later, the crowd held its breath as a stray ball caused anxiety in the Zebras' box, before goalkeeper, Modiri Marumo smothered the effort.

The physically imposing Tunisians, who were tactically superior, continued to keep pressure with left back Mosimanegape 'Twizer' Ramohibidu struggling with pace.

Tunisian captain, Fallah Fahid was a constant threat and in the 22nd minute, he weaved his way through the middle before he was thwarted by Marumo. The Zebras responded three minutes later when Mosimanegape  thumped a shot just narrowly over Tunisian goalkeeper, Mathlouthi Aymen's goal.

Mogorosi's pace down the right was causing problems for the visitors' defence but with no end product. In the 28th minute, Mogogi Gabonamong's powerful header ejected the fans from their seats, but the effort flew agonisingly wide.

At the other end, Boussodi Amis responded with a floated free kick which failed to get a touch from his team mates

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and missed the target by inches.

The UB Stadium was up on its feet at the end of the first half, thanks to a moment of genius from Diphetogo 'Dipsy' Selolwane. Marumo released a long throw to Mogorosi who pulled the ball back to Selolwane. The crafty midfielder jinked past his marker before releasing a grass-cutter which was parried back into play by Aymen.

Silent assassin, Ramatlhakwana, as he has often done in the qualifiers, was at the right place to fire into the net via the goalkeeper's palms.

The 48th minute goal probably booked the Zebras place in the 2012 AFCON.As expected, the Tunisians came back firing in the second half but failed to penetrate the Zebras' rearguard. Gaborone United midfielder, Ofentse 'Size 10' Nato was outstanding in the middle while a returning Gabonamong never put a foot wrong at the back.

Boitumelo Mafoko ably supported Nato in the middle, while Mogorosi was a bundle of energy throughout the match.

Gabonamong had the opportunity to put the game beyond Tunisia's reach in the 70th minute but his effort shaved the cross bar on its way out. There were further chances for Ramatlhakwana to increase his tally but he was unable to convert.

Coach Stanley Tshosane pulled out Selolwane and Mongala for Moemedi 'Jomo' Moatlhaping and Dirang Moloi.

The move almost back-fired as the Tunisians pressed hard for an equaliser. The North Africans had two close chances but were denied by an alert Marumo.

The Bay United goalkeeper saved with his feet when substitute Dowhbi Yousef pulled the trigger from close range.

There was a heart-stopping moment right at the death when Yousef found himself free and lifted the ball towards the top corner, but Marumo averted the danger. The final whistle sparked wild celebrations as fans rose to salute their heroes. With the loss, Tunisia surrendered their unbeaten away record while the Zebras' remain undefeated.

The Zebras completed a rare double over Tunisia, following their 1-0 triumph in the first leg in July.
The win sent the Zebras six points clear at the top with 13 points from five matches.

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