Tunisia/Swaziland: Tunisia Punish Error-Prone Swaziland

Visiting Tunisia punished error prone Swaziland with two first half goals to bag the three vital points from the Group J played at Mavuso Sports Centre in Manzini on Sunday afternoon.

If anything the home team paid dearly for leaving out their experienced players as the Tunisians prevailed for their second win at the group stage. The win saw Tunisia move to six points, thus reclaim the apex of the group standings from Egypt who thumped Niger 6-0 on Saturday. A goal each from Taha Yassine Khenissi and Naim Sliti on the 17th and 36th minutes was enough for the Carthage Eagles to secure victory.

Khenissi netted home a Sliti perfect and defence tearing pass to squeeze the ball past a badly exposed goalkeeper, Sandanezwe Mathabela for the opener. Then it had to be Sliti for what would be the final nail into the coffin after tapping home an Issam Jebali pass after an intercepted Sabelo Gamedze back pass.

And thus the damage had been accomplished though the scoreline could have risen to three had Wahibi Khazri's spot kick right at the death not been cleanly stopped dead by Mathabela.

It was only in the second half that the home team tried to meaningfully fight back but alas the tie had been sealed in the opening half leaving Swaziland to fight another day if they still entertain any hopes of qualifying for the continental finals.

For two of the Tunisia team members - Rami Bedoui and Mohamed Amine Ben Amor the Mavuso Sports Centre territory marked another victorious visit as they were only here on the 17th of July when their parent club Etoile Sportive du Sahel thumped local champions Mbabane Swallows 3-0 in the CAF Champions League.

The other member of the huge delegation who has successfully visited this Southern Africa mountainous monarchy is Hamza Mathlouthi of CS Sfaxien who beat Swallows 3-1 in Total CAF Confederations Cup group match last year at Somhlolo National Stadium.

And indeed the errors had made the difference with both coaches acknowledging.

Faouzi Benzarti, the Tunisia coach said they had to be alert to punish Swaziland for every error.

"This is what we had been looking forward to do. We had to punish them for almost every error that they (Swaziland) were going to commit and I am happy we did just that. It is never easy playing away from home and that was our big wary but I am glad we got this win.

"The win obviously gives us an advantage in the race but this is not the end. We just will not rule out the bottom two teams as anything can happen in the game of football. Now we look forward to the next set of matches next month," said Benzarti.

Swaziland interim coach, Anthony Mdluli paid tribute to the tactically superior opponent.

"We lost the match due to two errors and our opponents were tactically superior. We sincerely would like to apologize to the nation for this defeat and retain hope to do better in the next matches considering that we still have four more matches to play," said Mdluli.

Swaziland travels to Egypt with Tunisia dating Niger on Match Day 3 before the reverse fixtures days later all in October.

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