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Mauritania v Tunisia: Goalkeeping errors concern Giresse

By Opta
Mouez Hassens blunder cost Tunisia in their last match

Suez, July 2: Tunisia coach Alain Giresse has concerns over his goalkeepers following a pair of errors to start their Africa Cup of Nations campaign.

Following a mistake from Farouk Ben Mustapha in a 1-1 draw with Angola in Tunisia's opening Group E match, Giresse changed his keeper to face Mali.

However, a blunder from Mouez Hassen led to Mali's opener and only Wahbi Khazri's deflected strike rescued a share of the spoils.

Tunisia head into Tuesday's clash with tournament debutants Mauritania in need of a victory to ensure their progression to the last 16 and Giresse did not shy away from acknowledging Tunisia's problem between the posts.

"The match is very important and we are obliged to win to qualify for the next round," Giresse told a news conference.

"I admit that we have a problem concerning goalkeepers and we changed ours in the first matches."

After a 4-1 defeat to Mali, Mauritania drew 0-0 with Angola on Saturday to get themselves on the board in Group E.

They would need to cause a huge upset to claim the win required to have a chance of going through as one of the best third-placed sides, and coach Corentin Martins conceded qualification for the last 16 is unlikely, though not impossible.

"I wanted to focus on defence because in the first game we conceded four goals," he told a news conference.

"We have to be happy with an historic first point. We can qualify, even if our chances are one per cent.

"It's going to be a final for us and we hope to roll out a great performance."

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Mauritania – Adama Ba

Adama Ba went close to breaking the deadlock against Angola and will be keen to make up for his miss in Tuesday's match.

Tunisia – Wahbi Khazri

While Tunisia's goalkeepers have been letting them down, Khazri has performed well at the other end of the pitch. His free-kick salvaged a point against Mali and was just reward for some excellent play. The former Sunderland playmaker will be key to breaking down Mauritania.

KEY OPTA FACTS

- Tunisia have lost only one of their last nine AFCON group stage games.

- Mauritania had one shot on target in their first two outings, fewer than any other side.

- Tunisia have failed to keep a clean sheet in their last 12 AFCON games, last doing so in 2013 against Algeria.

- Khazri has scored two of Tunisia's last three AFCON goals.

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Story first published: Tuesday, July 2, 2019, 1:00 [IST]
Other articles published on Jul 2, 2019
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