Aboubakar chases history as Tunisia eyes last four


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Host nation Cameroon will meet Gambia in the competition for the first time, its second successive game against tournament debutants, something its last experienced in 1972.

Tunisia meets Burkina Faso in the later match looking to end a fairly rotten recent record at this stage of the AFCON, although history favours its opponent.

Two of Egypt, Morocco, Senegal and Equatorial Guinea will lie in wait for winners.

Gambia v Cameroon, 2.55am AEDT, bein 1

Cameroon has enjoyed facing AFCON debutants of late: including its 2-1 win over Comoros in the last round, it has won three consecutive matches against such opposition, which is more than it managed in its first six such games.

Gambia, which surprised Guinea in the last 16, is bidding to become the first team to reach the semi-finals in its first Africa Cup of Nations since eventual winner South Africa did so in 1996.

Unbeaten in its past eight matches in all competitions, Cameroon has progressed from two of its most recent three AFCON quarter-finals, having gone through on penalties against Senegal most recently in 2017. Defeat to Gambia, the smallest nation on the African mainland and one who had never before reached a major tournament, would go down as one of the competition's greatest upsets.

Yet for Musa Barrow, whose goal sent them into the last eight, there is little pressure.

"Everyone is happy back home," he told AFP. "It is a small nation. We love football. People learn football from the street so coming to this AFCON, reaching this stage is a big improvement, and it is going to take the Gambian name to higher heights.

"We have nothing to lose, but they are the host nation. If they lose it is going to be a big disaster for them."

One to watch: Vincent Aboubakar (Cameroon)

Gambia will need little incentive to keep an eye on Cameroon's captain and most dangerous striker, but Aboubakar is chasing not just a place in the semi-finals here.

Not only has he scored in each of his past six games in the competition, but he could also become the first player in AFCON history to net in a team's first five matches at a single edition of the tournament.

Burkina Faso v Tunisia, 5.55am AEDT, beIN 1

Tunisia might be favourite - it is ranked 30 places higher in the world than Burkina Faso - but, in the previous two meetings at the AFCON in 1998 and 2017, it was the Stallions who progressed at the quarter-final stage.

In fact, Burkina Faso has gone through from each of its three last-eight matches in this competition, a record only Mali can better.

No team has made it to this stage more often since its introduction in 1992 than 11-time quarter-finalist Tunisia, but this has not been a happy round for Mondher Kebaier's side: it has been eliminated from five of its past six such matches.

Still, after knocking out Nigeria in the last 16 despite COVID-19 cases badly depleting its squad, perhaps this will be its year.

One to watch: Youssef Msakni (Tunisia)

Msakni's winner against Nigeria saw him become the first Tunisia player to score in five different editions of the AFCON. There are only four players to score in six: Cameroon great Samuel Eto'o, Zambia's Kalusha Bwalya, and Ghana forwards Asamoah Gyan and Andre Ayew.