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Mauritania no match for clinical Tunisia as Carthage Eagles remain perfect in World Cup qualifying

Tunisia’s Carthage Eagles continued their cruise through Group B opposition in FIFA World Cup qualifying on Thursday by dominating visiting Mauritania 3-0 to maintain their perfect record through three qualifying matches. Africa’s current second-ranked national team have scored eight goals and are yet to concede, sitting on nine points with a three-point gap separating them from the only other contender to win Group B, Equatorial Guinea. Mauritania have yet to obtain a point and are all but mathematically eliminated after falling victim to goals from Ellyes Skhiri, Wahbi Khazri and Seifeddine Jaziri.

A quiet opening fifteen minutes saw the match awakened by a moment of brilliance from the hosts that came out of nowhere. A cross from the left wing was cleared out of the penalty box by the Mauritanian defense and the ball bounced out, apparently out of danger. However, FC Köln midfielder Skhiri ran onto the ball and unleashed a laser of a shot from thirty yards out that crashed into the upper corner of the Mauritanian goal past goalkeeper Namori Diaw. Having scored three goals in his last two German Bundesliga games for Köln, Skhiri’s strike made it his second goal in his last three national team matches for a player in top form.

The hosts had numerous chances to boost their lead with Mauritania’s confidence shattered by Skhiri’s beauty of a strike. Naïm Sliti had two excellent opportunities but his 27th and 31st minute shot attempts were well kept out by Diaw to keep the visitors in the match for at least a while. Sliti fared better when he was trying to assist goals rather than score them. In the 42nd minute Skhiri slickly stole the ball in the midfield and sent Sliti through on the right flank, where the Al-Ettifaq FC player had plenty of space to pick out Wahbi Khazri with a bouncing cross. Khazri applied the finish before taking a blow from Diaw and Tunisia had a two-goal lead heading into halftime.

Tunisia were comfortable for the remainder of the match and cruised through the second half, facing little trouble from a tame Mauritania team. Late on in the 86th minute the hosts finished off the scoring. Al Ahly attacking left back Ali Maâloul got free down the wing and had all day to line up a cross, finding substitute forward Jaziri. The Zamalek hitman’s initial shot was deflected off the post, but Jaziri had time to get up, collect the rebound, and calmly navigate himself for a better angle before finishing past Diaw. The demoralized Mauritania defense did substitute keeper Babacar Diop absolutely no favors by giving Jaziri no challenge on his way to his fourth national team goal.

The Carthage Eagles are in stellar form and Mondher Kebaier’s side continue to emerge as a potential candidate to win the upcoming Africa Cup of Nations. Highlights of their comfortable win over Mauritania are in the link below.

Highlights from FIFA TV

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