Hosts Mauritania and Tunisia played out a FIFA World Cup qualifying Group B encounter that featured a lack of attacking edge from both sides with 0-0 being the end result. Tunisia maintain their record of not having been scored upon through four games, and remain group leaders with a three point edge on second placed Equatorial Guinea. Mauritania finally get their first point in a disappointing campaign, but they are now mathematically eliminated from being able to advance to the final round.
The hunger and desire was made clear by Mauritania to get their first points in the second round, and the hosts earned an opportunity in the opening minute. Mouhamed Soueid collected the ball in the Tunisian penalty area after a charge from the kickoff, and passed off to find Ismail Diakhité who was left disappointed when his open shot was blasted high over the bar.
Tunisia continued struggling to find their footing on the artificial pitch and the match saw few opportunities for a long period after Diakhité’s effort. However, the 36th minute began a flurry of chances for both teams. Adama Ba played a short corner kick to Moussa N’Diaye, whose cross into the box was not adequately cleared by the Tunisian defense. Mohamed Dellahi took in the ball at the edge of the area and his shot attempt was blocked, but fell right to Soueid who turned and had his shot brilliantly saved onto the post by a hand from Tunisia keeper Farouk Ben Moustapha.
The visitors marched right down after the save from Ben Moustapha and Hamza Rafia cut in from the left flank to unleash a looping shot from thirty yards out that rattled off the crossbar and clear. A few minutes before halftime Dellahi headed a corner kick service over to further confirm that Mauritania intended to attack at home.
Things evened out after the break as the Carthage Eagles made adjustments to try and have more success going forward against the hosts. Zamalek striker Seifeddine Jaziri brought a direct element to the Tunisian attack and the best second half opportunities for the visitors fell to him. In the 74th minute a long ball from midfielder Ferjani Sassi caused trouble for the Mauritanian defense with outrushing keeper Babacar Diop and his defenders failing to clear. The ball fell to Jaziri on the corner of the penalty area and he attempted to curl a shot around the retreating Diop, but the shot stopper managed to get back and handle the effort without too much trouble.
Mauritania’s attacking enterprise gradually declined as Tunisia took control in the second half, but the Carthage Eagles lacked the sharpness needed to obtain a breakthrough. One last chance saw Sassi set up substitute Fakhreddine Ben Youssef but the forward put his shot wide with only Diop to beat. The visitors were forced to be content with a point while Mauritania will be satisfied with getting their first point against a strong opponent. Highlights of the match are below.
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