08 - 16
July 2023
13 Zamba Camara (CIV)
Game Report
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Cote d’Ivoire shock Tunisia, book Semi-Finals spot after nail-biting finish


LUANDA (Angola) - Cote d'Ivoire booked their ticket for the 2023 FIBA AfroCan Semi-Finals thanks to a narrow 69-66 victory over Tunisia on Thursday.

The Ivorians thus join Morocco and the DR Congo in the Semi-Finals and will know whether they will face Angola or Rwanda for a place in the Final.

It took guts and composure for Cote d'Ivoire to pull off the victory, as Tunisia clung on to their opponents without ever being able to dislodge them from the lead.

But it took the combined efforts of Mike Fofana (19 points), Lionel Kouadio (10 points) and the contribution of the Ivorian bench to see the Elephants win against one of the tournament favorites.

Lionel Kouadio 

However, Tunisia were able to respond to Cote d'Ivoire's arguments through Oussama Marnaoui, who scored 18 points and had 4 rebounds, which was far from enough for the Ivorians to fail in their quest.

TURNING POINT : Cote d'Ivoire got off to a flying start, leaving Tunisia stunned and unresponsive, at least for a while.

Leading 16-8 at the end of the first quarter, they would not be caught again until late in the third, when Tunisia came back to 54-50 to win the quarter 24-15.

At the start of the fourth quarter, Tunisia clawed their way back into the game (54-54) and caused their opponents to falter.

But the Ivorians were able to resist, applying total defense, with 23 defensive rebounds, while Tunisia nevertheless finished with the best total (52, including 34 defensive rebounds).

After a promising start to the tournament with a 2-0 mark, Tunisia lost at the worst time of the event

STATS DON’T LIE: Despite the defeat, the Tunisian bench put in a more than decent performance with 44 points, compared with just 23 for Cote d'Ivoire.

But it was the Elephants who made the most of the breaks, scoring 26 points in transition. They also made the most of Tunisia's loose balls, scoring 20 points in a collective effort.

Tunisia did a tremendous job with rebounds, finishing with a total of 52, while Côte d'Ivoire finished far behind with just 32.

HEROES : When both teams ran out of steam, going more than three minutes without scoring at the start of the 4th quarter, it was Lionel Kouadio who rose a little higher than everyone else to break the deadlock. His move inspired his team-mates as Mike Fofana gave his side a five-point lead in the process (59-54).

Sire Dieng

Ulrich Kra was to be the man to put Côte d'Ivoire in the clear with just 33 seconds remaining, thanks to his two successful throws. Sire Dieng scored the last two free throws to seal the win for Cote d'Ivoire.

BOTTOM LINE: Côte d'Ivoire managed their match better. Thought to be underdogs before tip-off, the Ivorians reacted very well to adversity and were able to find the arguments they needed to contain an opponent who did not come out firing on all cylinders.
However, they may need to work a little harder on their free throws (14/25 made) and three-point shots (9/32 made) if they are to avoid a nasty surprise in the Semi-Finals.

THEY SAID: "We weren't expected to win, we came as underdogs and that suited us perfectly. Looking back at the match, there were very few things that didn't work. I'd even say that everything went according to plan. We were confident in our qualities. Even when Tunisia came back, we remained calm because we had prepared beforehand. Now we're looking ahead to the next game and concentrating on our next objective." Loukou Oka, captain of the Côte d'Ivoire team.