Algeria’s AFCON hopes in peril after surprise defeat to Tunisa

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Algeria crumbled in a high-pressure game against Tunisia as the Carthage Eagles’ deflected goal and converted penalty were enough for the side to blast past Algeria.

Msakni’s run down the left and subsequent cross led to Tunisia’s first goal as the ball deflected off Bensabani and over Asselah.

Tunisia doubled their lead with a goal which proved to be fatal for Algeria as Sliti put away a penalty. Ghoulam’s mishandling of the ball led Khazri to be through on goal. The former then fouled Khazri from behind in the area but escaped punishment. Sliti knocked it away with a low finish to the right.

Algeria did pull one back later on in stoppage time. Guedioura pulled a ball back for Hanni who slammed the ball into the net with a first-time finish.

Algeria were very poor and deserved to lose. They were a match for Tunisia in the first half. They hit the bar and had a close-range header from Slimani stopped. They did little in the second half and even conceding two goals didn’t spark any urgency. Despite having four minutes to go after their lifeline goal, they barely got forward.

Meanwhile, Tunisia were deadly. They surpassed Algeria in quality in the second half after an even first which saw them have one key chance from a corner. They smothered any danger posed by Algeria until late on. Another great performance but the only difference this time was their finishing.

Algeria’s are in huge danger of falling at the first hurdle after being named as one of the tournament favourites. Meanwhile, Tunisia have catapulted themselves into near-qualification. They will be much fancied for advancement.

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Full Commentary

Algeria had two chances in quick succession early on with both stopped excellently by Tunisia’s captain Mathlouthi. The first of which was a free-kick from Brahimi which was tipped onto the bar. The next was from the resulting corner. Mathlouthi stopped Brahimi’s close range header with an excellent reaction.

Guedioura picked up the first booking of the game. Guedioura had committed a number of offences prior and the referee was having none of it when he fouled again. His tangle with Ben Amor was punished with a yellow.

Tunisia came close with a corner from Khazri causing chaos in front of the Algeria goal. Khazri’s corner looked like a wasted one, but a slight flick by Msakni at the near post caused trouble. Asselah scrambled it away and Akaichi failed to turn it in at the far post, the ball coming to him at too tight an angle.

Riyad Mahrez missed a great chance to give Algeria the lead. It was a Leicester combination: Slimani’s cut back from the right teeing up Mahrez. Mahrez, on his weaker foot, put a pathetic shot on goal which trickled into the arms of Mathlouthi.

Akaichi should have done better to get his head onto a cross. Naguez played an excellent ball across the face of goal from the right. It looked perfectly poised for Akaichi to turn it in. Yet the forward completely missed the ball in the centre of the area.

Meftah got booked for his very poor challenge on Msakni. Meftah missed the ball completely kicking midfielder in the leg.

Maaloul got himself booked for encroachment in stoppage time while Algeria were taking a free-kick. The defender went beyond the vanishing spray to jump and block a set-play. He was duly punished with a booking.

The half ended goalless but it was not short of entertainment. With both sides seeking victory, the quality is on the higher scale. The half did tail off a little towards the end though.

Tunisia took the lead through a huge stroke of luck as Bensabani put the ball into his own net through no fault of his own. Sassi played a great through ball, that was lifted over the Algerian defence to Msakni on the left. Msakni brought the ball into the box and from near the byline, he put a cross in. The cross deflected off Bensabani which lifted it over Asselah and into the net.

Algeria conceded a penalty soon after conceding the goal. It was all the fault of Ghoulam. He miscontrolled a long pass which Sunderland’s Khazri pounced on. Khazri was through on goal with Ghoulam behind him. Ghoulam clipped his heels in the area and a penalty was swiftly given. There could be a strong case for a red card but the referee did not punish him.

Lille midfielder Sliti was to take the penalty. He made no mistake and tucked it away with an excellent bottom corner finish. Algeria’s hopes of a successful were going south very quickly. A huge shock on the cards for one of the tournament favourites.

Algeria attempted to react by bringing on a substitution. Ghezzal was brought off with Bounedjah on.

Tunisia also made a change. Khazri coming off to be replaced by Ali Yacoubi.

Algeria made their second change. Hanni on for the disappointing Brahimi. Brahimi was furious at his substitution. He kicked a coolbox after coming off but couldn’t even succeed in knocking it over.

Khenissi came on for Akaichi in Tunisia’s second substitution.

Slimani had a great chance to pull a goal back for Algeria. Hanni played a great ball through to Slimani on the right after receiving the ball from Mahrez. Slimani ran onto it but his shot was deflected wide.

Tunisia lost Mathlouthi to injury late in the game. The keeper landed awkwardly, hurting his calf in the process. After attempts to carry on, he was forced to come off for Jridi.

Hanni pulled a goal back for Algeria in stoppage time. Guedioura was the brains behind the goal, pulling the ball back into the path of Hanni. Hanni took a fantastic first time shot from just within the box.

Algeria made their final change in stoppage time. Guedioura came on with Abeid coming on.

Algeria failed to put any pressure after the goal and the game ended in victory for the Tunisians. A well-deserved victory with the Algerians putting in a lacklustre performance.

Algeria will desperately need a win in their last game against Senegal as Tunisia go up against Zimbabwe in their last game and will be favourites to go through. Algeria’s hopes in the tournament look scuppered.

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