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MENAFN - The Peninsula - 18/01/2010

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Cedric Moubamba (left) of Gabon tackles Youssef Msakni during their group stage match at the African Cup of Nations at the Tundavala Stadium in Lubango, Angola, yesterday.
(MENAFN - The Peninsula) Gabon missed out on an opportunity to reach the African Nations Cup quarter-finals with a game to spare when they were held to a goalless stalemate by Tunisia yesterday.

Gabon, who started their campaign with a 1-0 win over Cameroon, top Group D with four points from two matches, with Tunisia in second place on two points.

Third-placed Zambia (1) were facing Cameroon (0) in the group's other game of the day (1830) at Lubango's Tundavala Stadium.

Alain Giresse's side will play their final group match against Zambia on Thursday while Tunisia will face Cameroon.

The Gabon Panthers dominated throughout but failed to convert a handful of chances through Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Stephane Nguema.

After a shaky start, Gabon took control of the game and came close to opening the scoring when Eric Mouloungui's diving header shaved Aymen Mathlouthi's post. Tunisia hit back five minutes later as midfielder Amine Chermiti collected a through ball, only for Didier Ovono to dive at his feet in the box.

Aubameyang then broke down the right flank and unleashed a powerful drive that was parried away by Mathlouthi as the Panthers piled on the pressure.

Juts before the break, Mouloungui again got the better of a hesitant Tunisia defence but his header went just wide. The Carthage Eagles stepped up a gear after the interval but they failed to take advantage of an Ovono blunder as the clock ticked past the hour.

The scare spurred Gabon back into the game and Mathlouthi was made to work by a sudden Nguema floating drive from the right. As the rain started to pelt down in Lubango, Gabon were denied a last-minute penalty when Ammar Jemel brought Daniel Cousin down in the area.

Panel to examine Henry handball row

paris: France captain Thierry Henry's infamous handball in the World Cup play-off win over Ireland will go under the microscope when FIFA's disciplinary commission assess the incident.

Two months to the day since the Barcelona man's controversial intervention secured the 1-1 draw that took France to South Africa and ended Ireland's World Cup dream in the second leg of their play-off tie in Paris, Henry will face up to the possibility of a fine or even a ban.

The meeting of the 21-man disciplinary panel, an independent body chaired by the Swiss Marcel Mathier, was announced by FIFA president Sepp Blatter in Cape Town on December 2 following an extraordinary executive committee meeting.

"I had a phone conversation with Thierry Henry. We didn't talk about guilty or not guilty. It was a conversation between sportsmen. I didn't say that he would be punished, I said he'd be the subject of an investigation." Blatter's diplomacy can be explained by the lack of precedent regarding retrospective punishments meted out to players.

The disciplinary commission is likely to issue a symbolic penalty, as FIFA's rules do not explicitly address incidents of such a nature and a heavy punishment would create an unwelcome precedent for world football's governing body.


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