Tunisia and Peru played out a 1-1 draw at Menzah stadium in Tunis on Wednesday, with first half goals from Wissem Ben Yahia for the Carthage Eagles and Claudio Pizarro for the Blanquirroja.
Despite the slow pace that characterised the early stages of the match, Peru could’ve opened the scoring on two minutes when Tunisian goalkeeper Aymen Mathlouthi’s attempt to dribble past Paolo Guerrero backfired badly.
It took about ten minutes for the home team to settle into the match and begin finding a passing rhythm. Youssef Msakni’s long-range effort after solid work from Saber Khlifa went close and Wissem Yahia’s free kick five minutes later were warning signs for the Peruvian defence.
La Blanquirroja countered through their attacking tandem of Claudio Pizarro and Guerrero who combined to good effect on 22 minutes only to be denied by a last ditch tackle from Tunisia’s Majdi Traoui. Luis Ramirez got into the act as well, his header just missing the Carthage Eagles’ goal-frame.
With Jamel Saihi pulling the strings in midfield, Sami Trabelsi’s team were benefitting from most of the possession and their pressure paid off on before halftime when Wissem Ben Yahia stole the ball from a Peruvian defender and blasted it past Diego Roberto for the opener.
The locals hardly had time to celebrate their goal though, as the referee awarded Peru a penalty kick for a Karim Haggui shirt tug in the box. Pizarro stepped up and sent Mathlouthi lunging in the wrong direction to equalise.
Ben Yahia was inches away from restoring Tunisia’s advantage in the second half through another accurately placed free kick but Roberto was equal to the effort. On the other end, Tunisia’s substitute goalkeeper, Moez Ben Cherifia, made a brilliant save of his own on 68 minutes despite to deny Peru after a well-taken corner kick.
A Sami Allagui layoff for Msakni shortly thereafter created problems for Peru’s defence but Roberto was once again on hand to save his team.
Coach Sergio Markarian proceeded to make numerous changes to his lineup, one of whom, Jefferson Farfan, should have given his team the lead in the 81st but his shot was well over Ben Cherifia’s crossbar. The strike proved to the last goal-scoring opportunity and the match ended on an equitable 1-1 scoreline.