Algeria on brink of elimination, lose 1-2 to Tunisia

Tunisia's midfielder Wahbi Khazri (R) challenges Algeria's midfielder Nabil Bentaleb during the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations group B football match between Algeria and Tunisia in Franceville on January 19, 2017. KHALED DESOUKI / AFP

Tunisia’s midfielder Wahbi Khazri (R) challenges Algeria’s midfielder Nabil Bentaleb during the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations group B football match between Algeria and Tunisia in Franceville on January 19, 2017. KHALED DESOUKI / AFP

Tunisia scored twice in the second half to beat Algeria 2-1 in Franceville yesterday and get back into contention for an Africa Cup of Nations quarterfinals place. The win puts Algeria on the brink of elimination from a competition they were touted as one of the favourites.

An Aissa Mandi own-goal broke the deadlock and Naim Sliti converted a penalty as the Tunisian Carthage Eagles atoned for a 2-0 defeat by Senegal in their opening Group B game.

Substitute Sofiane Hanni scored a consolation goal for the Algerian Desert Foxes a minute into stoppage time.

Among the pre-tournament favourites, Algeria have only one point and must defeat top-ranked African team Senegal on Monday to have a chance of survival.

It was a typical North African derby and it started with a high intensity, with both sides chasing an early goal, but it was the Desert Warriors who threatened first.

After taking the game to the Carthage Eagles, Algeria received a set piece, but Yacine Brahimi saw his effort tipped over the cross bar by Aymen Mathlouthi inside the first five minutes.

Mathlouthi became the busier of the two goalkeepers when he was called to stop Adlene Guedioura’s powerful shot away from the d-line in the 11th minute.

In the 20th minute, Henryk Kasperczak’s men received a corner, but Youssef Msakni’s touch was not enough to put the ball in across the face of the goal, whilst Ahmed Akaichi arrived late on the far post.

A few minutes later, Riyad Mahrez was also put through in the box, but the Leicester City man saw his effort punched away from danger by Mathlouthi.

Despite dishing out good football, both sides went to the tunnel deadlocked at 0-0.

With just five minutes played of the second half, a wonderful run by Msakni into the box saw skipper Mandi conceding an own goal to give Tunisia the lead.

And 14 minutes later, Tunisia were given a penalty when Faouzi Ghoulam fouled Wahbi Khazri in the box and Sliti converted from the spot, doubling their lead to 2-0.

Despite getting a number of chances to break the deadlock, it was substitute Hanni who pulled one for the Fennecs in the injury time.

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