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Tunisia draw with Mali to pick up first Cup of Nations point

TUNISIA picked up their first point at the Africa Cup of Nations, coming from behind to draw 1-1 with Mali in their second Group E game.

Mali took an early lead through Lassine Sinayoko but Hamza Rafia equalised for Tunisia within 10 minutes at the Amadou Gon Coulibaly Stadium.

Tunisia had suffered an upset defeat in their opening game against Namibia while Mali beat South Africa the same evening and now top the standings with four points.

Namibia and South Africa play their second group game in Korhogo on Sunday.

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Mali were ahead in the 10th minute as Sinayoko scored a second goal at the tournament, striking home from the left with his shot going in off the inside of the post.

But in the 20th minute, Tunisia levelled as sweeping passing move was completed by fullback Ali Abdi pulling the ball back into the path of Rafia, who fired it home to level matters.

The match struggled to match the excitement of Saturday’s earlier games in nearby Bouake where the two Group D games featured nine goals in a blitz of entertainment.

Korhogo’s proximity to the Mali border meant plenty of support but not too much for the supporters to enthuse over.

Sinayako had a half chance 11 minutes from time to restore Mali’s lead and qualify them early for the next round, but his effort was smothered by the Tunisian defence.

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With the top two teams in each group, plus the four best third placed finishers, advancing to last 16, Mali’s four-point haul is almost certain to secure then them a place in the next round.

But Tunisia, who beat France at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, will likely need a win in their last game on Wednesday against South Africa in Korhogo to stand any chance of advancing.

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By The African Mirror

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