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Senegal and Tunisia share points in Dakar
A stern defensive performance merited a very important point for their Carthage Eagles on the road to Morocco. Senegal huffed and puffed but weren’t clinical enough infront of goal – not one of the best attacking performances by Alain Giresse’s Teranga Lions.
Senegal XI: Coundoul, Badji, Z Touré, Mbodji, Djilobodji, Mbengué, Diamé, I Gueye, Ndoye, Sow, S Mané.
Tunisia XI: Balbouli, H Mathlouthi, S Ben Youssef, Yaakoubi, Abdennour, Maaloul, Ragued, Nater, Khazri, Chikhaoui, F Ben Youssef.
Both teams demonstrated an attacking intent from the start with Tunisia registering the first attempt on goal from an Ali Maaloul free-kick – 20-yards out, 3 minutes in – which the keeper gathered well.
The first Senegalese attack came from the left where Sadio Mané pinged in a beautiful cross for Moussa Sow, unmarked, to head home 10 minutes in but was flagged for offside.
The Senegalese continued to take control and looked more dangerous going forward, but didn’t manage to create much more goalscoring opportunities.
Alan Giresse was also forced into a first-half early substitution taking off the injured Mbodji for Salif Sané.
After a lively first 15 minutes, the rhythm of the game died down a little and Tunisia were happy to let Senegal have the ball and break at any opportunity.
Fakhreddine Ben Youssef tried to launch attacks for the Tunisians but found himself isolated most of the time upfront. His attempt on goal went wide of Coundoul’s left post.
Senegal tried to make use of their physical presence on set-plays and crosses, but Tunisian centre-back pairing Mathlouthi and Aymen Abdennour stood strong to end the first half goalless in Dakar.
In the second-half, Giresse used another substitution taking off Fenerbache striker Moussa Sow for Newcastle man Papiss Cissé. The Teranga Lions tried to freshen things up top but it was Tunisia who looked dangerous from the start with Yaakoubi meeting a cross from the left that Coundoul saved well.
Senegal again started to dominate possession but lacked creativity in the final third, Tunisia’s game plan so far was working to perfection.
Tunisia started to tire and Senegal’s physical dominance started to show as they began to turn on the pressure on the Tunisian defence, Sadio Mané twinkle-toed down the left, provided a low cross for Cissé, who guided it towards goal but the ever present Abdennour made a fantastic block; it seemed like there was no way through.
Senegal continued to press for a winner but lacked incisiveness infront of goal, as Tunisia looked happy to sit back and play for the draw.
Five minutes of added time went up and Senegal threw everything at Tunisia, however a lack of end product and faultless Tunisian defending ensured a point for the Carthage Eagles in Dakar.
Senegal have now failed to beat Tunisia in their last 9 attempts, with the last Senegalese victory coming in 1989.
Both teams – who sit on top of Group G with 7 points each, 4 above Egypt – will do it all again in 4 days time in Radès where a win for either team would all but seal qualification.