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VIDEO: Tunisia and Algeria draw in pre-AFCON friendly
Africa’s top two ranked sides met in a friendly game on Stade Rades, in front of 30,000 fans who provided a great atmosphere.
Tunisia: Aymen Mathlouthi – Hamza Mathlouthi, Syam Ben Youssef, Aymen Abdennour, Ali Maaloul – Hocine Ragued, Jamel Saihi, Yassine Chikhaoui – Fakhreddine Ben Youssef, Wahbi Khazri, Saber Khalifa
Algeria: Rais M’bolhi – Aissa Mandi, Liassine Cadamuro, Carl Medjani, Djamel Mesbah – Sofiane Feghouli, Nabil Bentaleb, Medhi Lacen, Riyad Mahrez – Yacine Brahimi – Islam Slimani
The game started with a high tempo with corner-kicks at either ends in the first five minutes, but the Algerians soon imposed their game thanks to their star players Sofiane Feghouli, Riyad Mahrez and Yacine Brahimi.
On the other hand Tunisia were restricted to counter attacks with Fakhreddine Ben Youssef’s pace and power looking like their primary source of danger.
Algeria always looked as the team more likely to open the score with Mahrez and Feghouli providing the supply, from either flanks, to Sporting Lisbon’s striker Islam Slimani. The first dangerous chance came on the 16th minute when Slimani escaped his marker at the near post but failed to properly connect with Mahrez’s dangerous low cross as his finish went across goal and wide.
Ten minutes later Tunisia’s most dangerous chance came from a set piece. Centre back Abdennour rose in the box and beat the rushing M’Bolhi to the ball but his header went wide of an empty net.
Algeria came close to opening the score on the 33rd minute from a set piece of their own, as Slimani’s header hit the post after a dangerous Brahimi corner.
Saber Khalifa was then forced off the pitch for Tunisia on the 35th minute due to injury and was replaced by Hamza Younes. Tunisia’s team staff confirmed a minor thigh injury but it remains unclear if the player will miss any game(s) at the AFCON.
Les Fennecs continued their pressure and on the 39th minute they finally got the lead from another dangerous Brahimi set-piece. This time Cadamuro’s header found the net after some poor marking from Tunisia.
However, only two minutes after giving his team the lead, Liassine Cadamuro was sent-off at the other end after bringing down a Tunisian player at the edge of the area. It appeared as if the referee had sent him off for being the last defender but the Algerians can argue that Carl Medjani was still in a good position to cover.
The red card incident proved even more costly for Algeria, as Wahbi Khazri brilliantly converted the resulting free-kick to make it 1-1 at the break.
Algeria began the second half with three changes: Ishak Belfodil, Saphir Taider, and Madjid Bougherra replaced Slimani, Lacen and Mahrez.
Like the first, the second half got off to a flying start with Tunisia calling for a penalty in the first minute after Hamza Younes went down in the area amid a coming-together with Carl Medjani, but the referee ordered play to continue.
The first really dangerous opportunity of the half came only in the 63rd minute when Feghouli forced a good save from Mathlouthi with a powerful low drive.
Three minutes later Algeria’s main threats Feghouli and Brahimi were replaced by Foued Kadir and El Arbi Hillel Soudani.
The numerous changes and the sending off affected the second half and the pace of the game considerably dropped.
Tunisia made changes of their own as goal scorer Khazri made way for Youssef Msakni on the 73rd minute and two minutes later Fakhreddine Ben Youssef was replaced by Mohamed Ali Moncer.
Subistitue Moncer produced Tunisia’s most dangerous chance of the half with a well struck long range effort which saw M’Bolhi repeat his World Cup heroics as he tipped the ball over the bar at full stretch.
Ferjani Sassi, who was recently signed with Fakhreddine Ben Youssef by FC Metz, came on for Saihi five minutes before the end.
However the match finished in a 1-1 draw and both managers would be looking to use their notes from the game to improve their teams performances at the AFCON.
Both managers had already named their full squads for the tournament, which will take place in Equatorial Guinea between 17th January and 8th February.
The tournament draw saw Algeria placed in the group of death alongside Ghana, Senegal and South Africa, while Tunisia were drawn alongside DR Congo, Cape Verde, and 2012 champions Zambia.
Les Fennecs will open their campaign against South Africa on the 19th of January, while the Carthage Eagles face Cape Verde on January 18th.
Tunisia 1-1 Algeria – Goals: