Tunisia Overcome Mozambique To Maintain Group Lead

Tunisia managed to defeat Mozambique by the score of 2-0 despite being troubled by the talented visitors who were unlucky not to score in the match.
Tunisia 2-0 Mozambique
Group B Standings

This match saw Group B leaders Tunisia host Mozambique at Rades Stadium. The Tunisians came into the match looking to tighten their grip on first place and stay ahead of the pack while Mozambique came in on the back of an impressive performance versus heavyweights Nigeria in Maputo where they held the Super Eagles to a goalless draw and arguably should have won.

First Half

Both sides began the match tentatively as each was trying to feel the other out. In two minutes things got more interesting with Yassine Mikari combining nicely with Khaled Korbi on the left and crossing to an unmarked Wissem Ben Yahia who missed the ball despite being well positioned. Nevertheless the choppy play continued and there was no rhythm to the encounter with both teams struggling to string together passes.

Mozambican players were doing their best to slow down the match to take the bite out of the eager Carthage Eagles who were desperately seeking to get on the scoreboard in order to please their fans.Some crafty play in midfield by Ben Khalfallah earned the locals a free kick from a good distance but his low and powerful shot brought nothing as it hit the Mozambican wall.

In the 19th minute an opportunistic steal and pass by Khaled Korbi led to Fahid Ben Khalfallah finding Allagui in space where the Greuther Furth striker was brought down by Mozambique’s Kapongo . Club Africain’s Wissem Ben Yahia took the resulting penalty kick and scored his first goal in national team colors to send the home supporters into a frenzy. The ideal scenario of an early goal that coach Humberto Coelho hoped for had materialized.

The visitors looked to respond immediately and performed some crisp passing moves in midfield but there was no end product to their build up play. Tunisia’s players looked more comfortable after their liberating goal and the Mozambicans continued to find trouble in reaching Hamdi Kasraoui’s penalty area.

The first corner of the match went to the Tunisians and Allagui was once again at the center of things as his header grazed the post despite him being surrounded by many taller defenders. The first card of the match was earned by Miro who tackled the impressive Ben Khalfallah from behind. The CAEN midfielder was causing problems for the Mozambican defense but attacks on his side often ended unsuccessfully as Tunisia’s right back, Khaled Souissi, was inaccurate with the ensuing crosses.

Mikari was more effective on his left side with his quick marauding runs and often created danger. Mozambique began relying primarily on long balls that did not trouble The North Africans’ experienced central defensive pairing of Radhi Jaidi and Karim Haggui.

The most dangerous opportunity for the Southern Africans came in the 42nd minute when Mikari fouled one of their players on the outside of the penalty box but the chance was wasted. The level of play did not reach outstanding heights however and the half ended with Tunisia conserving their lead.

Second Half

The second half began with a change as Tunisia’s Khaled Korbi came off for Club Sportif Sfaxien midfielder Chadi Hammami but the tempo of the match remained quite slow due to the referee’s propensity to whistle the slightest foul. Mozambique followed with their own change as they brought on Genito for Paito to bring more to their attack. Coelho countered by bringing in his own attacker, Deportivo La Coruna’s Lassad Nouioui, for Allagui but it was the Mozambicans who began to show some fluidity in midfield.

The visitors continued to look more comfortable and the Tunisian supporters began chanting the name of Esperance playmaker Ousemma Darragi who was expected to start the match but their call was not answered by the Portuguese trainer. Mozambique came incredibly close to leveling the scoreline in spectacular fashion in the 61st minute but their attacker’s volley was parried by Kasraoui with great difficulty. The newly signed Lens goalkeeper followed that up with another save on the corner kick that came after.

Mozambique continued to control the midfield and were unbothered by Tunisia’s changes. They were awarded a free kick in the 73rd minute but a strike from 40 yards fizzed over the crossbar. Ben Khalfallah responded with his own long range shot but it also did not find the target. Nouioui made his first notable contribution shortly after but could not find space in the penalty box as he was harassed by a Mozambican defender.

Nouioui’s first game for the Carthage Eagles ended sadly as he reinjured his hamstring which had caused him to miss some matches with his club near the end of the La Liga season. However, the crowd was overjoyed with the fact that Darragi finally made it into the match to replace him. Unfortunately for the Tunisians, one of their best player’s of the match, Mikari, received a yellow card which will deprive him of playing versus Nigeria on June 20th.

However, Darragi had his impact on the proceedings but his accurate pass which led to Souissi’s cross was met by Ghariani in the box but the Hammam Lif player used his hand and received a yellow card for the unsportsmanlike move. In the 90th minute, Darragi had the final say on the match when his low drive from 30 yards left the goalkeeper with no chance and reassured the North Africans that they would be taking all three points despite not having played to their full potential.

TUNISIA 2- 0 MOZAMBIQUE

GOALS: Wissem Ben Yahi (19), Oussemma Darragi (90’)

TUNISIA: Hamdi Kasraoui, Yassine Mikari, Karim Haggui, Radhi Jaidi, Khaled Souissi, Khaled Korbi (Chadi Hammami, 45’), Houcine Ragued, Wissem Ben Yahia, Fahid Ben Khalfallah, Mohamed Ali Ghariani, Sami Allagui (Lassad Nouioui 54’) (Ousemma Darragi 79’)

MOZAMBIQUE: Kapango, Hagi (Danito 82’), Simao, Paito (Genito 50’), Domingues, Tico-Tico, Fanuel Massingu, Miro, Mano, Dario, Dario Khan

Rami Ayari, Goal.com

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