Tunisia goalkeeper Mouez Hassen has apologized after publicly rejecting his late substitution in Monday's round of 16 tie against Ghana in the 2019 African Cup of Nations.
"I apologize to the Tunisian fans, the coach and all players for my behavior before the penalties against Ghana," Hassen said in a statement via his official Twitter account late on Tuesday.
When the match was going into penalties after a 1-1 extra time draw, Tunisia coach Alain Giresse decided to replace Hassen with teammate Farouk Ben Mustapha directly before the final whistle.
Hassen looked puzzled and angered by Giresse’s decision and refused to leave the pitch for awhile before finally obeying the coach.
"My reaction was due to me being stressed throughout the match and I also wanted to be an addition in the team during the shootouts stage," Hassen explained in his statement.
Ben Mustapha proved his worth; saving a shot from Ghana's Caleb Ekuban in the shootout to hand Tunisia success as the Eagles of Carthage finally won 5-4 on penalties.
Tunisia secured a place at round of 16 after three successive draws against Mali, Angola, and Mauritania.
They will face Madagascar in the quarterfinals on Thurday.
Under the helm of Giresse, the Eagles of Carthage are searching for their second ever African Cup title after winning their sole trophy in 2004.