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Tunisia through to Arab Cup semifinals following victory over Oman

Tunisia are into the last four of the 2021 FIFA Arab Cup following a hard fought 2-1 victory over Oman on Friday. The Carthage Eagles got off to an excellent start by opening the scoring through competition leading scorer Seifeddine Jaziri, but faced stiff resistance as underdogs Oman equalized before Youssef Msakni tallied to help Tunisia find the edge. Tunisia now awaits the winner of Egypt and Jordan for a December 15 matchup.

The Tunisians had the greater pedigree throughout their squad but faced an Oman side that made up for their lack of talent with fierce determination, leaving everything on the pitch in their efforts. Oman struggled to establish much going forward in the first half, allowing Tunisia to generate the majority of opportunities. Just before 16 minutes elapsed, it was Tunisia who went ahead when Espérance Tunis player Amine Ben Hamida found room on the left wing and lofted a cross in to find Jaziri, who leaped above his marker to bounce a headed shot past Oman keeper Ibrahim Al-Mukhaini.

It could have been worse for Oman than the 1-0 score they were down at the halftime break. Naïm Sliti’s effort from just outside the area was well hit but went wide towards the end of the opening half before Zamalek forward Jaziri was set up for his second. However, instead of taking the opportunity to shoot after receiving a low cross, Jaziri curiously attempted to set up Msakni instead, who could not reach the ball to put anything behind his finish.

Tunisia’s failure to take advantage of their first half dominance and move ahead by multiple goals came back to haunt them. Oman showed more urgency moving forward after the break and began to have their own looks at goal. With both teams limited to half chances and attempts from distance early in the second half, a spectacular long range shot drew Oman level in the 66th minute. 21-year-old midfielder Arshad Al-Alawi collected a pass in the middle before unleashing a blast from nearly 30 yards that beat a diving Mouez Hassan in the Tunisian goal to equalize.

However, Tunisia did well to keep Oman from building too much momentum and struck back quickly to restore their lead and dampen any hopes of an upset. In the 69th minute it was Sliti who received the ball on the right flank and sent in an excellent cross. 31-year-old captain and forward Youssef Msakni, a veteran whose performances for Tunisia have come under scrutiny recently, scored his second goal of the competition by meeting Sliti’s cross with a powerful header that bounced past the helpless Al-Mukhaini in goal.

The North African side held out for the remainder of the match as Oman could not muster a response. Highlights of Tunisia’s victory are in the link below.

Highlights from FIFA TV

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