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Saturday, September 30, 2023

Decisive attack spurs Tunisia comfortably past Togo in WAFCON opener

Tunisia cruised to a 4-1 victory past an overmatched Togo side on Sunday to give the Carthage Eagles three points in their Group B opener at the 2022 Africa Women Cup of Nations. Mariem Houij scored the first of two goals within the first twenty seconds and Sabrine Eliouzi also scored twice for the Carthage Eagles, who showed plenty of promise heading into their next matchup against Zambia. Debutants Togo scored their first ever Africa Women Cup of Nations goal but have plenty of work to do with games against Cameroon and Zambia approaching.

Togo fell behind right after the kickoff when Houij was sent in down the right wing by a lofted ball from Imen Troudi in the midfield. Houij looked up and saw Togo goalkeeper Amé Amouklou off her line before lifting her shot over and into the goal. Things only got worse for the competition debutants when a free kick from Tunisia’s Ella Kaabachi bounced off Amouklou’s knee before Eliouzi reacted double the lead with a looping header.

The Togolese did manage to quickly get a goal back in the 22nd minute after forward Tayla Gace was taken down just inside the Tunisian penalty area while battling for the ball. A Video Assistant Referee review determined Gace was fouled and Odette Gnintegma dispatched a perfect spot kick into the top corner to cut the deficit in half. Togo nearly equalized before halftime but Mafille Woedikou was denied first by a brilliant save from Tunisia keeper Soulaima Jabrani and then the defense after she got around Jabrani in first half stoppage time.

Tunisia regained their focus after halftime and gained a numerical advantage when Togo’s Ella Djankale took down Houij on a breakaway, resulting in a straight red card for Djankale following a VAR review. By the hour mark Tunisia were back ahead by two goals when Sabrine Mamay’s free kick picked out Ellouzi for a close range header and Houij added her second with a toe poke that just snuck past Amouklou and over the line before she could scramble back.

Highlights are below.