Mali beat Tunisia 1-0 at the Africa Cup of Nations in a Group F game which ended in controversy.
Tunisia has struggled for success at the Africa Cup of Nations, claiming the crown just once in their history, they are one of the represented nations at the tournament and made its 15th consecutive appearance this year.
Their only triumph came back in 2004 as the host nation when they edged out rivals Morocco 2-1 in the final courtesy of goals from Francileudo Santos and Ziad Jaziri on either side of Youssouf Hadji’s 38th-minute equalizer.
However, the Eagles of Carthage head into Cameroon following one of the most dominant qualifying runs in the history of the tournament, topping Group A with a healthy seven-point lead over runners-up Equatorial Guinea after claiming five wins from six games — the most of all teams in the qualifiers — and scoring the second-most goals with 14.
Tunisia and Mali get their quest for continental glory underway on Wednesday as they square off at the Limbe Omnisport Stadium in Group F of the TotalEnergies Africa Cup of Nations.
Coach Mondher Kbaier of Tunisia started the game with his preferred 3-4-3 formation while Mohamed Magassouba when in for a more defensive formation 4-2-3-1 formation
Tunisia get the game on the way with the first kick but was not able to hold the ball for too long as Mali began dominating the game with an early attempt at the 2 minutes with a powerful shot from Ibrahima Kone but was blocked by Hamza Mathlouthi for a corner
With 14 minutes gone another opportunity for Mali with a super shot from Adama Traore but was blocked by a well constructed Tunisian defense
The Malian keep their calm in their play and continued their dominance and at the 41 minutes of play Massadio Haidara with a shot at close range but his shot went out for a goal kick
At halftime, Mali was the better team with a good ball possession of 53%. Sadly both teams recorded zero shot on target
TUNISIA 0️⃣ – 1️⃣ MALI
The second quarter of the game began with a substitution by Tunisia where Coach Mondher Kbaier decided to add a boost to his midfield bringing in an attach Saif Eddine to replace Hannibal Mejbri
Tunisia engaged themself in more attacking but unfortunately for them, their new technic was quickly discovered with a solid defense put in place by Mohamed Magassouba
Mali break the deadlock at the 48th minute when Tunisia midfielder Ellyes Skhiri touched the ball with the hand instead of with the foot that called the attention of the VAR and the decision was Mali’s with a penalty awarded and Ibrahima Kone made no mistake and convert the penalty in style to put his team ahead
Tunisia step up their game after they conceded from a penalty spot with a much better performance hitting the target three times but could not still find the back of the net.
15 minutes to full-time VAR awarded Tunisia a penalty from a handball but captain Wahbi Khazri penalty was well saved by goalkeeper Bosso Ibrahim
With 5 minutes to the end of stoppage time, Zambia referee Janny Sikazwe controversially ended the game but later realized it was not and continued the game
Tunisia tried to mount pressure for an equalizer but Mali’s defense was strong enough to keep all three points
Mali take on the Gambia in their next outing, before wrapping things up in the group stages with a clash against Northwest African side Mauritania on January 20, and three points on Wednesday was undoubtedly the coach desire and he got it
The game ended with a squabble when the referee call the game to an end at exactly 90 minutes and Tunisia techincal took to the field questioning the referee about additional time
MAN OF THE MATCH