Ghana needed an extra-time goal to beat a plucky ten-man Tunisia side 2-1 to qualify for the semi-final of the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations on Sunday in Franceville
Andre Ayew profited from a goalkeeping howler from Aymen Mathlouti to tuck home the match winner on 101 minutes.
The game started on a frantic pace with both sides trying to assert themselves but the Black Stars drew the first blood when captain John Mensah connected a corner kick in the minute.
A corner kick floated to the near post by Emmanuel Agyemang-Badu was flicked on by Andre Ayew to the far post where the unmarked defender was waiting to pounce.
It was the second goal of the tournament for the Olympique Lyon player who had just returned from injury and a two-game suspension.
The Ghanaians could have made it two in the 17th minute after a solo burst from the centre by Kwadwo Asamoah but his shot across goal was cleared by Karim Hagui with Asamoah Gyan lurking.
A misplaced backpass by Massawudu Alhassan played Khalifa Sabeur through but he was tripped by John Boye who in the process conceded the game’s first booking and a free-kick in a very dangerous position.
The resulting kick by Chammem Khalil was too poor considering the careful preparation by the Carthage Eagles for the kick.
With the Tunisians not making a serious charge for the equalizer, the Ghanaians looked very content to let the Carthage Eagles have a sizeable share of possession once they were not probing.
Just when the game looked destined for a 1-0 score at half-time the Tunisians got back on level terms in the 42nd minute after Khalifa Sabeur out-jumped Samule Inkoom to beat Adam Kwarasey at his near post.
The second half started at a very slow pace with both sides not willing to open up and go all out for the kill.
Skipper John Mensah looked to have aggravated his thigh injury when Youssef Msakni charged on him in the 53rd minute and was immediately replaced with Isaac Vorsah.
Ghana almost restored its lead, after being let of the hook on the other side, through Agyemang-Badu but his header lacked the needed direction as Mathlouthi Aymen made a clean catch.
The very quiet Asamoah Gyan attempted a swift turn shot in the 66th minute but his intended curler went wide.
The Carthage Eagles almost jumped into the lead when Khalifa Sabeur’s shot deflected off the leg of Isaac Vorsah but luckily went over the bar in the 70th minute.
Andre Ayew nearly got the breakthrough in the 72nd minute when his curling corner kick almost caught Mathlouthi Aymen off guard but he did just enough to put it behind.
Asamoah Gyan was presented with the best chance of the game when he was played through clean on goal but his shot was expertly saved by Aymen.
The Black Stars looked the more determined side to grab the win as the game progressed to the latter stages.
Jemaa Issam drew a spectacular save off Adam Kwarasey with a 20-yard power driver but the Stromsgodset keeper was up to the task.
That was the last real effort in regulation time as the game headed for extra time.
Tunisia started the first half of extra time the brightest and even got the ball behind the net but Issam had already been flagged offside.
Andre Ayew, who took over the captaincy of the Black Stars following the substitution of Asamoah Gyan, capitalized on a terrible mistake by Aymen to slot the ball home in the 101st minute.
Ghana thus took the goal advantage into the second half of extra time with the next 15 minutes very well poised for especially the neutrals.
The game however deteriorated for the Tunisians as a silly elbow in the face of Ayew by Abdenour Aymen attracted a straight red card and rightly so.
The Black Stars kept their cool and crucially control of the ball to further infuriate their opponents.
Ghana fended off a late charge by the Tunisians to hold onto their lead to book a place in the semi- finals and will now play Zambia on Wednesday.