Tunisia beat UAE as both team reach quarters
December 06 2021 11:24 PM
Tunisia's forward Seifeddine Jaziri (left) celebrates after scoring against the UAE during the FIFA
Tunisia's forward Seifeddine Jaziri (left) celebrates after scoring against the UAE during the FIFA Arab Cup Group B match at the Al Thumama Stadium in Doha. PICTURE: Ram Chand

* Syria stunning lose to Mauritania paved the way for UAE’s entry into last eight

Tunisia on Monday delivered a fighting performance to beat the UAE 1-0 at Al Thumama Stadium as both sides secured quarterfinals berths at the FIFA Arab Cup. Saifeddine Jaziri’s first-half strike in the 10th minute was the only goal of the tense clash in Group B of the 16-team tournament.
By virtue of Monday’s feisty clash, Tunisia – ranked 29 in the FIFA rankings - finished the group stage of the tournament with six points from three matches as did the UAE, who are coached by Dutchman Bert van Marwijk. Syria were stunned by Mauritania which knocked them out of the competition and paved the way for UAE’s entry into last eight. Both Syria and Mauritania ended the tournament with three points each.
Tunisia’s Jaziri, who plays as a forward for Egyptian giants Zamalek, said Monday: “We thank God for this victory. We have reached our first target and that was to reach the quarterfinals. The match was very tough but we remained focused on our target from this match. We have played a lot of tough matches recently and that has drained us of energy but we are happy.”
Jaziri, with tournament-high three goals from as many matches, added: “We will prepare better for our next match.”
Youssef Msakni, the Tunisian star who plays for Qatari club Al Arabi in QSL, said: “We are delighted with our win today. It was good to give to so many of our fans. It was a tough match but we succeeded in our mission.”
In the 10th minute, Tunisia opened the scoring through a slick move. Msakni charged his way into the UAE box where he managed to hoodwink markers Abbas Walid and Ciao Canedo a few meters from the goal. As Msakni aimed to take a shot at the goal, the ball slipped out of his control, hit the UAE keeper Eisa Khalid and landed near Jaziri who was alert to flick the ball into an empty net from close range.
Ali Saleh of UAE – a few meters out of the Tunisia box – curled in a spectacular shot that was parried above the crossbar by keeper Mouez Hassen in the 25th minute. With exchanges on both sides increasing with each passing minute, UAE skipper Walid was booked by German referee Daniel Siebert for a reckless but hard tackle on Jaziri at the half-hour mark.
A minute from the end of the first half, French-born Tunisian midfielder Naim Sliti found Jaziri with a perfect low cross from the edge of the box. Jaziri arrived with perfect timing to deflect the ball which missed the target by a few inches from close range.
Three minutes into the second half, Tunisia launched another attack on the UAE goal through Sliti who missed his target by a small margin with a powerful shot that sailed past the left goalpost. In the 53rd minute, UAE’s Saleh curled in a long free-kick that bounced off Tunisia’s Ghaylen Chaaleli but the keeper was alert to block the deflection from close range.
Four minutes before the hour-mark, the Sliti-Jaziri combo once more got close to scoring from inside the UAE box but keeper Khalid pouched a header from the latter.
In the 80th minute, Tunisia's Ben Youssef came close to scoring but could not find the net with his shot. Seven minutes later, Youssef produced another powerful shot from outside the UAE box but his shot was saved by the UAE keeper.

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