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Tunisia gain valuable three points with road victory in Zambia

Tunisia’s Carthage Eagles completed a dream start to their FIFA World Cup qualifying schedule with two wins in two games following Tuesday’s 2-0 victory against Zambia at the Levy Mwanawasa Stadium in Ndola. Wahbi Khazri opened the scoring by converting a penalty kick and Anis Ben Slimane finished the job with a goal in second half stoppage time to give Tunisia a three point lead in Group B. The loss is a bitter pill to swallow for Chipolopolo, who look to be the most likely team to challenge the favored Tunisians for the group winner spot.

Covid-19 related travel restrictions have wreaked havoc on many African national teams, particularly those in sub-Saharan Africa, but Zambia could argue that they have been the most impacted. Following an excellent performance in their opening win in Mauritania, English Premier League based stars Enock Mwepu and Patson Daka had to return home and could not participate in the crucial encounter against Tunisia because the match took place in Zambia, a country on the United Kingdom’s “red” list for travel. The quality of Chipolopolo in the final third suffered greatly due to their absence.

The hosts got off to a nightmare start when an 8th minute long throw for Tunisia led to a penalty kick opportunity after Khazri’s header was handled by Zambian defender Benedict Chepeshi as he jumped to challenge for the aerial ball. Khazri stepped up and put away the spot kick with ease for his second goal in two games. Chipolopolo had their chances by utilizing direct play, but could not find an equalizer before halftime with Prince Mumba dragging his finish wide in the 38th minute after being set up by a low cross.

Zambia continued to push after the break and had a couple of opportunities to level the match. In the 69th minute, substitute Kelvin Kampamba sent in a quick cross from the left flank that found fellow sub Clatous Chama, but his header was well parried away by Tunisia keeper Farouk Ben Mustapha. Another golden chance came in the 83rd minute when Spencer Sautu sent 19-year-old striker Jimmy Mukeya in on goal, but Ben Mustapha closed the angle down well and Mukeya fired his low shot wide of the target.

Missed opportunities came back to bite Chipolopolo and a skilled buildup from Tunisia in stoppage time broke down the home defense, opening up plenty of space for left back Ali Maâloul to find Mohamed Ben Romdhane. Ben Romdhane’s shot was well saved by keeper Cyril Chibwe but the rebound went to Ben Slimane, who sent a firm shot into the net to put the match away.

Highlights are in the link below.

FIFA TV Highlights

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