The Algerian national team may have lost its chance to advance beyond the first round of the 2017 African Cup of Nations, after a defeat to their Tunisian counterparts in the second stage of Group B, played in the Stade de Franceville in Gabon on Thursday.
Despite clear control by ‘The Greens’ in the first half, creating a number of chances to score by Slimani, Mahrez, Guedioura, and Brahimi, the Tunisian goalkeeper Aymen Mathlouthi was on top form, and made some challenging saves, resulting in a goalless draw between the two teams at half-time.
The second half was different, and showed a marked parity between the teams, and the Tunisians exploited mistakes in the Algerian defence to score two goals. The first was knocked by Mandi into his own net after a cross from Msakni. The second goal came when Ghoulam made a fatal error in returning the ball to goalkeeper Asselah, and lost possession. A follw-up tackle by the Naples player was exploited by Wahbi Khazri to get a penalty, which was scored by Naim Sliti.
The reaction by the ‘Brothers of Mahrez’ was not strong, apart from a chance by Slimani in the eightieth minute, which was deflected for a corner, and when Hanni reduced the gap in the ninetieth minute.
The match ends with the superior ‘Carthage Eagles’ boosting their hopes of reaching the second round, while the mission for the national team to continue this African journey has become nearly impossible.
Translated by Conor Fagan
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