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Thursday, September 21, 2023

Tunisia dominate in 2023 AFCON qualifying victory over Equatorial Guinea

Equatorial Guinea had no chance on Thursday as Tunisia controlled their 2023 AFCON qualifying duel from beginning to end for a 4-0 home thrashing in Radès. Youssef Msakni has two goals off the bench and fellow substitute Seifeddine Jaziri also scored while Naïm Sliti had a goal and two assists with all goals being scored in the second half. Tunisia move to the top of Group J alongside fellow North African side Libya with a date on the road against Botswana for their next match while Equatorial Guinea host Libya in Malabo.

The visitors from Equatorial Guinea held on for dear life in the first half with Tunisia’s lack of finishing the only thing keeping the Carthage Eagles scoreless. Tunisia midfielder Ferjani Sassi nearly finished a teasing cross from Firas Ben Larbi but could not stretch his leg out far enough for the final touch and the visitors survived a barrage of close calls around the twenty minute mark. A period of calm ensued before Sliti set up influential full back Ali Abdi just before halftime but nobody could finish his ball across the goal mouth.

The only shot on goal for Equatorial Guinea arrived soon after halftime when a long range effort required Tunisia goalkeeper Bechir Ben Saïd to parry the ball away. From then on it was all Tunisia once again and the opening goal came in the 56th minute when right back Mohamed Dräger cross was volleyed into the six-yard box by Abdi and the Equatoguinean defense failed to clear, allowing Sliti to react quickest and sweep the ball past keeper Jesús Owono.

Equatorial Guinea kept the Tunisian attack at bay for a while after the opener but it all fell apart for the Nzalang in the final fifteen minutes. Seconds after Jaziri came on in the 76th minute an accurate cross from Sliti picked out the Zamalek striker for a powerful header past Owono. Three minutes later Sliti drove inside from the right wing and fed Msakni to fire in from twelve yards. Msakni completed the visitors’ misery in the 85th minute when Abdi combined with Sliti for a shot on target that was saved right to Msakni who was left with an easy finish.

Highlights of the match are below.