Tunisia look to avoid upset

Tunisia look to avoid upset
Sliti Naim of Tunisia challenged by Hamari Traoré of Mali during the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations Finals match between Tunisia and Mali at Suez Stadium, Suez, Egypt on 28 June 2019 ©Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

by Graeme Jackson

Monday Jul 01, 2019. 10:14

Tunisia will look to avoid an upset result against Mauritania in their final Group E match at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations. The clash is set for the Suez Stadium on Tuesday 2 July, kick-off at 21:00 CAT.

Mauritania claimed their first AFCON point on Saturday when they held Angola to a goalless stalemate, a result which keeps them in the hunt for a place in the last 16 – even though they enter the clash as the bottom-placed team.

Al Murabitun will know that a win will see them finish either second or third (depending on the result of the other Group E match between Mali and Angola) and coach Corentin Martins will be urging his team to create further history at their major tournament debut.

Defeating their more illustrious opponents will be tough, but Mauritania have already made a big improvement from their opening 4-1 loss to Mali and a continuation of that upward trend could see them spring a surprise against the North Africans.

Tunisia, meanwhile, played to a second successive 1-1 draw when they were held by Mali on Friday afternoon. The North Africans found themselves behind to a goal direct from a corner kick by Diadie Samassekou (which was as a result of another goalkeeping error, this time from Hassen Mouez) but levelled through talisman Wahbi Khazri.

The Carthage Eagles will know that a win guarantees them a berth in the last 16 of the AFCON but they will be concerned by their lack of form thus far. Coach Alain Giresse has come under fire for the team’s performances and will want a major response in this final group match.

In head-to-head stats, Mauritania and Tunisia have met in 11 previous matches. The Carthage Eagles boast an unbeaten record (nine wins, two draws), while the teams’ most recent meeting was a friendly in Gabes in November 2016 which ended 0-0.

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