Tunisia book World Cup spot after Mali draw

Tunisia book World Cup spot after Mali draw
Players of Tunisia celebrate after winning the FIFA World Cup 2022 Africa Qualifiers playoff, second leg soccer match between Tunisia and Mali at the Olympic stadium in Rades, Tunis, Tunisia, 29 March 2022. EPA/MOHAMED MESSARA

by Staff Reporter

Wednesday Mar 30, 2022. 00:12

Tunisia booked their spot in the 2022 FIFA World Cup finals after drawing 0-0 with Mali in the qualification – third-round – match at the Stade Hammadi Agrebi in Tunis on Tuesday night.

The Carthage Eagles will compete in the finals of the biggest sporting event in the world which is set to be hosted by Qatar later this year after winning their tie against the Eagles 1-0 on aggregate.

The Eagles dominated possession as they looked to score and level matters on aggregate, but they struggled to create clear cut chances with the Carthage Eagles’ defence looking solid and compact.

The best chance of the first-half fell for Diadie Samassekou and the Mali midfielder’s headed effort went inches wide of the target with goalkeeper Bechir Ben Said well-beaten.

The Carthage Eagles launched counter-attacks and they played balls in behind the visitors’ defence, but they were either cleared away or gathered by keeper Ibrahim Mounkoro. The score was 0-0 at half-time.

Tunisia continued to allow Mali to control the match and they were looking to catch the visitors on the counter with full-backs Ali Maaloul and Mohamed Dragger ready to pounce through their overlapping runs.

The duo nearly combined to hand the Carthage Lions the lead. Maaloul was afforded space to deliver a cross for Dragger, whose headed effort was well-saved by Mounkoro with the Eagles’ defence exposed.

Mali coach Mohamed Magassouba decided to introduce Everton star Abdoulaye Doucoure, who is known for his ability to score goals from midfield in the English Premier League, with 17 minutes left on the clock.

However, the hosts stood firm at the back and ultimately, the encounter ended in a 0-0 draw on the night and Tunisia won the tie 1-0 on aggregate.

Tunisia 0

Mali 0

Tunisia: Ben Saïd; Dräger, Ghandri, Talbi, Maâloul, Chaalali, Ben Romdhane (Ifa 90’+1), Laïdouni, Sliti (Mejbri 90’+1), Msakni (Skhiri 66′), Jaziri (Khenssi 66′).

Mali: Mounkoro; H. Traoré, Kouyaté, Fofana, M. Haïdara (M. Camara 34′), A. Haïdara, Bissouma (Doucoure 73′), Samassékou (Dieng 73′), A. Traoré, Djenepo (M. Doumbia 64′), Diaby (Kone 73′).

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