Youssef Msakni of Tunisia celebrates scoring a penalty with teammates during the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations Finals football match between Tunisia and Angola at Suez Army Stadium, Suez, Egypt on 24 June 2019 ©Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix
Wednesday Jun 26, 2019. 13:00
Tunisia and Mali will meet in a heavyweight Group E clash at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations, with their match set for the Suez Stadium on Friday 28 June, kick-off at 16:30 CAT.
Tunisia opened their AFCON campaign with a somewhat disappointing 1-1 draw against Angola on Monday night. The North Africans bossed the game from early on and claimed a deserved lead through Youssef Msakni’s penalty.
However, in the second half they struggled to find the same rhythm and were punished for a mistake from goalkeeper Farouk Ben Mustapha, allowing Djalma Campos to equalise for the Palancas Negras.
Coach Alain Giresse will have been disappointed with both the result and incomplete performance from his team, and hoping to see an improvement from star men such as Wahbi Khazri, Naim Sliti and Msakni.
Mali, by contrast, put in an excellent display to crush tournament rookies Mauritania 4-1 in their match on Monday.
The Eagles cruised to victory thanks to goals from Abdoulay Diaby, Moussa Marega, Adama Traore II and Adama Traore I, with their only disappointment the concession of a penalty scored by Al Murabitun’s Moctar Sidi El Hacen.
Coach Mohamed Magassouba has urged his young team not to get carried away, and they will do well to view Tunisia as a much greater threat. Yet at the same time, the Eagles will know that a win over the North Africans will not only secure a spot in the last 16, but also lay down a marker for the rest of the Nations Cup.
In head-to-head stats, Tunisia and Mali have met in eight previous matches. The Carthage Eagles have claimed five wins compared to three for their West African counterparts.
The teams’ most recent clash was a quarterfinal in the 2016 African Nations Championship (CHAN) in Kigali which Mali won 2-1, thanks to goals from Aliou Dieng and Abdoulaye Diarra.