Tuesday Nov 16, 2021. 23:13
Tunisia defeated Zambia 3-1 in their final 2022 FIFA World Cup qualification Group B match at the Stade Olympique de Rades in Rades on Tuesday night.
As a result, Carthage Eagles secured their place in the third round of qualifying as group winners, while Chipolopolo ended their Group B campaign in third place.
The Carthage Eagles dominated the game from the first whistle and they deservedly opened the scoring 13 minutes into the game with Aissa Laidouni scoring from inside the box to hand Tunisia a 1-0 lead after Wahbi Khazri’s free-kick was not cleared away.
Chipolopolo then conceded a penalty just before the half-hour mark, but Khazri was brilliantly denied by Zambia goalkeeper Toaster Nsabata from the spot-kick. The hosts’ continued to attack through their marauding full-backs Mohamed Drager and Ali Maaloul.
Drager hit the back of the net with a low shot from close range to make it 2-0 to Tunisia a minute after the half-hour mark – finishing off a brilliant team move by coach Mondher Kebaier’s charges with Said-Eddine Khaoui grabbing an assist.
Tunisia extended their lead two minutes before half-time when Naim Sliti played a defence splitting pass for Maaloul, who beat Nsabata with a wonderful strike to make it 3-0 to Tunisia heading into the half-time break.
Russia-based central midfielder Kings Kangwa was introduced by Zambia coach Beston Chambeshi prior to the start of the second-half as Chipolopolo looked to take control of the encounter.
However, the Carthage Eagles continued to launch attacks with Tunisia’s inspirational captain Khazri tormenting the visitors’ defence with his sharp movement and silky dribbling skills.
Having grabbed a hat-trick in Zambia’s 4-0 win over Mauritania over the weekend, Fashion Sakala pulled one back to make it 3-1 from the rebound after his penalty kick was saved by keeper Farouk Ben Mustapha in the 80th minute.
The goal proved to be a mere consolation for the visitors as Tunisia held on to their two-goal lead in the closing stages of the game and they emerged 3-1 winners over Zambia on the night.
Tunisia (3) 3 (Laidouni 13, Drager 31′, Maaloul 43′)
Zambia (0) 1 (Sakala 80′)
Tunisia: Ben Mustapha, Maâloul, Dräger (Mathlouni 67′), Meriah, Bronn, Talbi, Sliti (Rafia 67′), Sassi (Ben Romdhane 67′), Khaoui (Ben Slimane 46′), Laidouni, Khazri (Chaalali 88′).
Zambia: Nsabata, Silwimba, Chiluya, Mwape, Chanda (K.Kangwa 46′), E.Kangwa (M.Phiri 88), Musonda, Bwalya, Banda, Daka, Sakala.