AFCON 2023: Tunisia seeks redemption against Mali


Facing the prospect of an early exit, Tunisia enters their second Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) group stage match against Mali, aiming to bounce back from a shocking late defeat to Namibia in round one.

The Carthage Eagles, who have consistently reached the quarter-finals in the last four editions, seek a return to their pre-tournament form, where they were unbeaten in four outings (W3, D1).

Tunisia’s opener against Namibia was unexpected in terms of the result, but not the scoreline, as low-scoring affairs have become a trend in their AFCON history.

In the last eight tournament games, all but one ended with a 1-0 scoreline, with Tunisia on the wrong end in six instances (W2, L6).

Matches against Mali have also produced minimal goals, with three of the last four encounters ending 1-0, highlighting the defensive nature of their clashes (TUN: W2, D1, L1).

On the other hand, Mali arrives with confidence, riding a stunning nine-game unbeaten streak in all internationals (W7, D2). Their convincing 2-0 win over South Africa in the AFCON opener puts them on the brink of reaching the knockout phase for the third consecutive time.

Mali’s recent AFCON success includes four consecutive wins with clean sheets, though they often struggle to secure back-to-back victories in the same tournament since 2012. The match against Tunisia may see a continuation of the low-scoring trend, as none of their last eight AFCON games have produced more than two goals.

Eyes will be on Ellyes Shkiri for Tunisia, whose scoring appearances have coincided with three-goal margins in favor of his side, and Mali’s Kamory Doumbia, in stellar form with eight goal contributions in his last six appearances (G5, A3).

With Tunisia in a must-win situation to avoid an early exit, and Mali looking to maintain their impressive run, the stage is set for a tense and potentially low-scoring encounter.

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