Tunisia and Mali prepare to face off in their second game at this year’s African Cup of Nations. Mali sit top of Group E after a comfortable start to the tournament thanks to a 4-1 win over Mauritania, whereas Tunisia took a point from their opening game as they drew 1-1 with Angola. Tunisia will have been disappointed to have only taken a point as they opened the scoring from the penalty spot in the first half before conceding an equaliser late in the second.
Tunisia will see this as a game they cannot afford to lose because Angola will most likely beat Mauritania who are the weakest nation in the group and that would make it difficult for the Tunisians to qualify if they were to be beaten by Mali.
It will be disappointing if Tunisia fail to qualify from the group as they have proven themselves to be a decent side with the ability to compete in recent times. Let’s not forget how they performed against England in Russia… it was far from pretty, but it required a stoppage time winner from Harry Kane to beat them. They also beat Panama at the World Cup and then qualified ahead of Egypt for this year’s African Cup of Nations, therefore they deserve plenty of respect.
Mali have crashed out during the group stage of the last two instalments of the African Cup of Nations, but they are on their way to putting that right this time around. The 4-1 opening round victory over Mauritania has put them in a strong position with a useful goal difference. Goals came from Sporting Lisbon’s Abdoulay Diaby, Moussa Marega and then two separate Adama Traore’s who play for Monaco and Orleans respectively.
There are no suspensions or injury concerns for Tunisia going into their second game of the tournament, but after a disappointing result from their opening game against Angola, they may opt to make some changes for the clash with Mali. Two attacking options who may be handed an opportunity are Firas Chaouat and Anice Badri.
Mali also have a fully fit squad ahead of Friday’s game, so they will be looking to build on their 4-1 victory over Mauritania where they impressed, albeit against a nation who aren’t very strong. It is yet to be known whether they will make any changes to that winning team, but it is believed that Moussa Doumbia would be the most likely player to come into the team if changes were made.
This is a big game for both sides with plenty of importance, so I cannot see it being an open goal-fest. Having said that, I do think over 1.5 goals looks like a good bet at odds of 1.50. Both nations saw at least 2+ goals in their opening game, and over 1.5 goals has occurred in eight of Mali’s last ten games and seven out of Tunisia’s last nine.
I’m edging towards Tunisia in this clash because they need a result against Mali and can’t be relying on that final game against Mauritania. They are unbeaten in their last four and will want to put their disappointing share of the spoils against Angola behind them. Mali would most likely settle for a point from this game given the cushion the opening round victory has given them, so take Tunisia Draw no Bet at 1.60 which covers you if the game ends up in a draw. They don’t meet very often, but if you are interested in head-to-head records, Tunisia have won four of the last six between the two nations.
I stated previously that I can’t see this being a goal fest, so if Tunisia find a way to secure a victory against Mali, I don’t think it will be by a large scoreline. I like the look of Tunisia to win and under 4.5 goals at 2.50 because if the Carthage Eagles take three points, the likelihood of the game featuring five or more goals is extremely unlikely.