Football news in brief: Ghana/Mali through to semis | Palsson signs for New York | Capello slams FA

The latest world football news in brief

GHANA advanced to the African Cup of Nations semi-finals by beating Tunisia 2-1 following goalkeeper Aymen Mathlouthi’s dreadful mistake in extra time. Mathlouthi dropped a seemingly harmless cross to allow Andre Ayew to poke home the winner in the 101st minute and see Ghana through a tense quarter-final and into a last-four meeting with Zambia.

Recalled Ghana captain John Mensah headed his team in front in the 10th minute at Stade de Franceville, but Saber Khalifa put Tunisia level in the 42nd with a header after a cross by Zouhaier Dhaouadi. Tunisia defender Aymen Abdennour was sent off late on for an elbow on Ayew in a bad-tempered finish.

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Earlier in the day, Mali eliminated African Nations Cup co-hosts Gabon 5-4 on penalties in their quarter-final after the two sides had played out a 1-1 draw. Seydou Keita scored the decisive kick after Gabon’s talisman Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang had his effort saved.

FORMER Hibernian midfielder Victor Palsson has signed a two-year deal with Major League Soccer side New York Red Bulls. The Icelandic Under-21 international was released by the Easter Road outfit earlier this month, after both parties agreed to terminate his contract, which had six months still to run.

But after a short spell on trial with Hans Bakke’s side in Mexico, Palsson has earned a deal alongside Champions League winners Thierry Henry and Rafa Marquez in the Big Apple.

Palsson, writing in Icelandic, last night Tweeted: “Signed a contract for two years this morning, very pleased with it. I am now waiting for permits.” The 20-year-old joined Hibs from Liverpool in January 2011, and left Easter Road having made 34 appearances and scored one goal.

ENGLAND manager Fabio Capello has spoken out in defence of axed skipper John Terry.

Terry was removed as captain on Friday by FA chairman David Bernstein three months after Capello had been given full authority to deal with the Terry issue as he saw fit. The Italian selecting him as captain for the friendly win over Sweden, on the basis the defender was innocent of racism charges until proven guilty. Terry will not face a court hearing into allegations he used racist language to Anton Ferdinand at Loftus Road last October until July, after Euro 2012.

Interviewed by Italian broadcaster Rai 1 at Stamford Bridge yesterday, and asked whether he was in agreement with “the Federation’s decision re Terry?”, Capello replied: “No, absolutely not. I have spoken to the chairman and I have said that, in my opinion, one cannot be punished until it’s official and the court – a non-sporting court, a civil court – has made a decision to decide if John Terry has done what he has been accused of.

“I thought it was right that Terry should keep the captain’s armband. The fact that the board has decided in this way is because it falls under the competence regarding ethics.”