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FIFA Arab Cup: Tunisia win over UAE to advance to quarterfinals, Mauritania defeat Syria

A defeat to Syria on Friday put some doubts into Tunisia’s chances of advancing from Group B in the FIFA Arab Cup, but the Carthage Eagles responded with an important 1-0 victory over United Arab Emirates on Monday. Seifeddine Jaziri’s 10th minute goal ensured that Tunisia not only qualified for the quarterfinals, but won the group by overtaking UAE in the standings. In the other match played simultaneously, already eliminated Mauritania earned their first points and win of the tournament by defeating Syria 2-1 to finish their campaign on a high note.

The Tunisian side moved quickly to assert themselves knowing a win was essential. After an energetic start from both teams, it was Jaziri who was in the right spot at the right time to open the scoring in the 10th minute. Qatari-based attacker Youssef Msakni took off on an adventurous run that saw the veteran slide by multiple defenders to move in on goal. As Msakni attempted to round UAE keeper Khalid Eisa, the advancing shot stopper tripped Msakni up, leaving the ball to roll to Jaziri who only had to roll his finish into an empty net.

UAE dominated possession but too many mistakes doomed them to the negative result. Tunisia should have been up by multiple goals at halftime with an unbelievable miss from close range by Jaziri bailing UAE out of trouble just before the break. As the Emirati side rallied in the second half, the closest they came to equalizing was in the 53rd minute when a header off a free kick ricocheted through on goal, but keeper Mouez Hassen stuck his hand out at the right moment to save.

While Tunisia secured the win they needed, Syria aimed to capitalize on their Friday victory by defeating Mauritania to advance. However, the mathematically eliminated West African team had other ideas and did brilliantly to get a win while dooming Syria to elimination. Mouhamed Soueid opened the scoring for Mauritania early in the second half before Syria fought back with an instant response through Mahmood Albaher. Late on it was Hemeya Tanjy who tallied just before the final whistle in the fifth minutes of stoppage time to give Mauritania their first FIFA Arab Cup victory in their second campaign.

Highlights of Tunisia’s win over United Arab Emirates are in the button link below with a link to Mauritania’s victory further down.

Tunisia 1-0 United Arab Emirates
Mauritania 2-1 Syria

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