Live Commentary: Tunisia 1-0 Algeria - as it happened

Live Commentary: Tunisia 1-0 Algeria - as it happened
© PA Photos
Sports Mole brings you live text coverage of the Group D match between Tunisia and Algeria at the Africa Cup of Nations.

Tunisia and Algeria headed into tonight's Group D clash knowing that the winners would join Ivory Coast at the top of the standings.

While both sides looked sluggish in the early stages of the first half, it was Algeria who looked the more likelier to find the back of the net.

Despite finding their feet in the clash, an individual piece of brilliance from Youssef Msakni gave Tunisia a late 1-0 win and crucial three points.

Discover how all the action unfolded in our minute-by-minute text commentary below.

5.30pmHello all and welcome to Sports Mole's coverage of today's second clash of Group D - Tunisia vs. Algeria. This particular group has been dubbed the 'group of death' so both sides will be eager to get their campaign off and running with a win tonight.

5.32pmEarlier today tournament favourites the Ivory Coast clinched a 2-1 win over Togo courtesy of a late strike from Arsenal frontman Gervinho.

5.33pmSo, the Ivorians have already set a marker for this group and while there is pressure on Tunisia coach Sami Trabelsi to get through the group phase, Algeria are heading into this evening's bout as favourites.

5.36pmLet's hunt down some team news then shall we?

5.40pmTunisia starting XI: Ben Cherifia; Ifa, Hichri, Chammam, Abdennour; Hammami, Traoui, Mouelhi, Msakni; Jemaa, Khlifa

5.42pmAlgeria staring XI: Mbolhi; Mostefa, Cadamuro, Belkalem, Medjani; Ghoulam, Lacen, Feghouli, Kadir, Guedioura; Slimani

5.44pmRight, we have just over 15 minutes until kick-off so let's have a little look and who could stand out for each side this evening.

5.46pmIssam Jemaa is arguably the key man for Tunisia as he is the nation's leading goalscorer with 34 and he's been in fine form ahead of the tournament - he netted four goals against Ghana and Iraq.

5.48pmAlgeria may have a secret weapon in their squad though! Everyone's talking about Sofiane Feghouli, who plays for La Liga side Valencia, and he has shown that he can compete in both an attacking and defending role, so he could prove vital for Algeria during this tournament.

5.50pmAs mentioned above, these two teams have gone head to head 47 times, with Algeria edging it slightly by 15 wins to 11 but interestingly they have never met in the Africa Cup of Nations.

5.53pmAs the teams walk out onto the pitch, it's interesting to note that both nations have won the Cup before - Tunisia most recently in 2004 and Algeria in 1990.

5.55pmThis is set up for a great North African derby! So, who will match the Ivory Coast with maximum points or will they have to share the spoils? We're going to find out very shortly!

5.57pmThe national anthems are now out the way so we turn to matters on the pitch. The teams are getting in position and we'll be ready to go!

0 minThe final two nations of the tournament get underway and Nigeria start us off...

0 minTunisia try to start the attack by knocking long but the ball is easily knocked out for a throw-in.

1 minMbolhi is forced to header away from goal after another long ball from Tunisia drifts into the final third.

2 minBoth sides are trying to settle in these early stages and both teams have been guilty of giving the ball away cheaply. Granted, we're only two minutes in...

4 minTunisia get a free kick in midfield after Jemaa is brought down but once again the tentative approach hasn't favoured them well as they lose the ball and give away a throw-in in their own half.

7 minA big injury concern here! Jemaa jars the ankle following a clash of heels with Cadamuro and he looks in pain. The forward is currently surrounded by medical staff. Hopefully he'll be able to continue but it's not looking very promising.

8 minIt's a big blow for Tunisia as Jemaa is stretchered off to seek treatment. He may return but at the moment they're down to 10 men.

8 minKadir and Mesbah are seeing a lot of the ball down the left-hand side, which Tunisia will have to deal with but there have been no serious attacks on goal as yet.

10 minJemaa has been given the all clear and has sneaked onto the pitch.

11 minCHANCE! The first chance of the game goes to Algeria - the ball falls to the head of Slimani, who is driving towards goal but his pace is too fast and his chance flies over the bar.

12 minBOOKING! Abdennour makes a late challenge on Feghouli, who rolls around on the floor, rather dramatically you might say, but it was a definite foul and Abdennour goes in the book.

13 minKadir takes the free kick on the edge of the penalty area but the floated ball into the box is collected cleanly by Ben Cherifia.

14 minJemaa is moving gingerly so the frontman may not finish tonight's game.

14 minKadir teases the ball into box but Slimani wasn't quite ready for the cross and the chance goes missing as Ben Cherifia grabs the ball from the air.

15 minSUBSTITUTION And that's the end of Jemaa's night! He makes way for Harbaoui due to the ankle injury suffered in the first 10 minutes of the match. It's a blow for Tunisia!

17 minFeghouli wins his side a free kick in a dangerous area but he wastes the chance by driving it low straight into the wall.

18 minAt the other end, Tunisia have a free kick opportunity just yards outside of the box. It's taken by Ifa, who gets the shot on but the wall blocks it and the chance is gone.

20 minWe've reached the 20-minute mark and neither goal has really been threatened. Both looked quite sluggish in the first few minutes and while Algeria have thrown some moves together, Tunisia need to get themselves into the game.

21 minLacen passes out wide to Mesah, who storms to the corner but Khlifa manages to track back and clear the danger in time.

22 minKadir tries a shot on goal after an impressive run into the box but he takes his chance too quickly and it's an easy save for Ben Cherifia.

23 minHarbaoui finds the ball down the other end of the field and instead of trying to dink past Belkalem, he pushes down on the defender and gets penalised.

25 minAlgeria get a chance to break through Guedioura, who passes over the top to try to find Feghouli but it's over-hit and the Valencia man fails to latch onto it.

26 minMesbah tries to find the end of a long-range pass but it goes out for a Tunisia throw-in. While neither goal has been threatened much, if anyone looks more likely to score, it's Algeria at the moment.

27 minKadir gets a free kick on the left-hand side of the final third and as he drifts the ball in, it gets cleared with ease.

28 minHIT THE BAR! A terrific cross from Feghouli finds the head of Slimani, who angles his header towards the left-hand corner and while the keeper has no time to launch a save, Slimani's effort rattles the top of the bar and goes out.

30 minAlgeria have started to find their rhythm and are getting on top of this game. At this time, Tunisia will be looking for the counter-attack to damage Algeria.

30 minAbdennour clears a swinging cross to give away a corner kick but Kadir's effort gets headed out for a throw-in.

32 minThe ball is bouncing around in the penalty area but Kadir finds it and chests it down to set up a shot. He had plenty of time to compose himself on the ball but he goes for it and shoots well wide of the target.

33 minA rare attack from Tunisia, and it comes from the substitute Harbaoui, who commits a surging run into the final third and tries to find Mouelhi, who is righfully flagged offside.

35 minBelkalem gets across the goal quickly to clear a cross from Mouelhi into the box and Algeria survive a brief scare.

36 minTunusia get a set piece opportunity in Algeria's half and Chammam lofts the ball into the box but it's dealt with by Algeria's defence and they can build again from the back.

37 minFeghouli's being a bit of a nuisance for Tunisia in this first half, which is working well for Algeria, but his final touch needs to be sharpened.

38 minBOOKING! Tunisia get their second caution of the night as Harbaoui is shown yellow for whacking his arm across Belkalem as they both jumped for the ball.

39 minKhlifa starts a counter-attack for Tunisia and it's two against one on the break but once again, the final ball lets them down and Algeria clear the danger.

40 minWell, I have to say it's been a very stop-start game so far. The referee has whistled for almost every challenge and the game hasn't been able to flow, which will be detrimental to both sides.

41 minAnother free kick for Algeria in a good position on the left-hand side just outside of the boc and Mesbah takes it but there are enough white shirts to clear.

42 minSAVE! Mbolhi is forced to make a save from another counter-attack by Tunisia through Khlifa, who drives down the right and into the penalty area to get his shot on but he kicks is straight to Mbolhi's hands.

43 minAt the other end, Feghouli tries a long-range shot at goal but it gets deflected by his teammate Slimani and goes out for a goal kick.

44 minTunisia get a spell of possession in midfield but Harbaoui gives away a foul after an elbow on his opponent while he was trying to head down the ball. Sums up Tunisia's evening at the moment.

45+1 minSlimani tried to dodge past Abdennour but the number 20 piles on enough pressure for the forward to over-run the ball and knock it out for a Tunisia goal kick.

45+2 minHALF-TIME: Tunisia 0-0 Algeria

6.49pmSo, it's goalless at half-time and considering the performance of both sides, it's hardly unsurprising. Neither nation have controlled the game and both were very sluggish in the first 10-20 minutes by giving balls away cheaply.

6.51pmWith a pitch full of midfield talent, it seemed too congested and it was difficult for either side to get control of the middle of the park. The flanks, however, have been going in Algeria's favour as Kadir and Mesbah have been given plenty of time and space.

6.53pmAlgeria found their rhythm towards the halfway point of the opening 45 minutes and they have looked the more likely to find the back of the net, with Feghouli trying to force through an attack and the Valencia has teamed up well with Slimani.

6.55pmThe stats show that Algeria have edged the possession 57% to Tunisia's 43%, which again is unsurprising. Tunisia will need to sharpen their touch in the final third for the second half, but it's clear that the loss of Jemaa, who was brought off in the 15th minute with an ankle injury, has been a big blow to his side.

6.58pmSo, we're just minutes away from the second half! Who will get the first goal, if at all?!

7.01pmHopefully the referee will allow the game to flow more freely. It's been far too stop-start so far and it's stuttered the performances of both nations.

7.03pmRight, the teams have emerged from the tunnel and are about to get going for the second half.

45 minTunisia get us underway...

45 minSUBSTITUTION Tunisia make their second change in the half-time interval by removing Traoui from the midfield and replacing him with Daragi.

47 minAlgeria try to launch the first attack through Feghouli, but he fails to bring his header down and his attempt gets snuffed out by Tunisia.

47 minFeghouli's ball is a touch short and Harbaoui gets the interception and is then fouled by Feghouli, who tries to win the ball back.

48 minIt's better movement from Tunisia. Harbaoui tries to thread the ball through to Ifa on the far side but it's too strong and the defender fails to latch onto it.

50 minTunisia's change in midfield has been working well for them so far in these early stages. They look a lot more threatening in the final third.

51 minAt the other end, Slimani gets pulled down by Abdennour and wins Algeria a free kick from outside the box but it's perhaps too far out for a shot.

52 minMesbah didn't seem to think so though! He went for goal with a low shot but it's goes far wide and the chance is gone.

54 minBen Cherifia tries to launch an attack for Tunisia right from his goal but it bounces too far for any of the forwards and Algeria regain possession.

55 minIt's gone a bit quiet again with neither side imposing too much of a threat and you would assume that only one goal will do it.

56 minCHANCE! And just as I say that, Algeria are inches to breaking the deadlock as Mesbah drives forward and takes a shot on goal which just drifts wide of the post. Very close!

58 minA strong challenge from Mustafah stops a good spell of possession from Tunisia, who look a bit more livelier with short and swift passes in midfield.

59 minWhile the midfield have been working hard to link up and create space, Tunisia's touch in the final third is still missing.

59 minAt the other end, Kadir drives in from the flank to take on a shot but it's well blocked and goes out for a throw-in.

60 minChammam knocks the ball forward to Harbaoui but he loses the ball cheaply and Algeria can start again from the back.

62 minWhile Algeria have created the better chances, Tunisia have muscled them out of the midfield in this second half, so perhaps this could be where the game is won or lost.

63 minMsakni tries a ball over the top searching for Khlifa but it gets cleared and allows Algeria to storm down the other end with Mesbah, who crosses into the box but he fails to find any green shirts and the chance goes missing.

64 minFeghouli has been quiet so far in this second half - he's not getting on the ball as much and the danger that he imposed in the first 45 minutes has not transpired into the second as yet.

65 minDaragi gets brought down in midfield to gain a free kick for Tunisia, who are passing the ball around nicely in the middle of the park but nobody seems to be running off the ball to get into the box and cause the keeper any danger.

66 minAnd just as I say that Harbaoui makes a surging run into the box and luckily for Algeria, the keeper times his run perfectly to slide the ball away from trouble.

68 minMustafah knocks the ball out wide to Mesbah, who measures his cross and gets the pass into the box but it's too high for Feghouli, who mistimes his jump.

69 minMISS! Wow, what a strike from Guedioura! The midfielder picks the ball up in midfield and hits a long-range shot which fires towards goal but just dips over the ball. He was inches away of giving Algeria the lead.

71 minBOOKING! Mesbah gets a yellow card for a reckless challenge on Khlifa. He dives in from behind but gets nowhere near the ball and picks up a caution.

72 minFeghouli calls for a penalty after coming into contact with a Tunisian defender in the box but the ref waves it away.

73 minOn replay, you can see that definite contact was made but it looked accidental. Sometimes they're given, sometimes they're not! I wouldn't have been surprised if the ref pointed to the penalty spot though.

75 minMISS! The best chance of the second half fails to get buried away! Harbaoui frees himself away from the Algerian defence and he's one-on-one withe keeper. You'd bet money on Harbaoui hammering it home but he shoots wide and ruins Tunisia's best chance of the game.

75 minMISS! The best chance of the second half fails to get buried away! Harbaoui frees himself away from the Algerian defence and he's one-on-one with the keeper. You'd bet money on Harbaoui hammering it home but he shoots wide and ruins Tunisia's best chance of the game.

77 minThe game's becoming stretched between the two 18-yard boxes so at the moment it could be anyone's game.

78 minHarbaoui tries to find the end of a ball over the top of Algeria's defence but it's too far and Mbolhi runs out from his goal to clear the ball in time.

79 minKadir takes a free kick for Algeria and it floats into the box but it's cleared and Tunisia survive any danger.

80 minIfa's under pressure in midfield but Daragi manages to free himself and collect the pass but the ball just gets away from him before he can cross into the box.

81 minWe have somewhat of a timeout as players have a drinks break. Well, I say break - they swig from some bottles of water for a minute, but now we're back to the action.

84 minSUBSTITUTION Harbaoui, who was brought on in the first half makes way for Ben Youssef, while for Algeria, Lemmouchia comes on for Guedioura.

85 minOh my! Kadir almost scored for Algeria without realising! The cross comes firing in from the left and it's too quick for Kadir to register and it whacks his knee to bounce behind the goal.

87 minTunisia win a free kick in a dangerous area and these are worrying moments for Algeria as keeper Mbolhi tries to get his line in place.

87 minChammam takes the set piece and while his shot flew over the wall, it also missed the back of the net and surged over the crossbar.

89 minAt the other end, Algeria get their fourth corner of the match and it's Kadir that's lined up to take it...

89 minHe floats the ball in but nobody attacks it and it gets cleared with ease. Once again, another wasted opportunity.

90 minGOAL! Tunisia 1-0 Algeria (Msakni)

90+1 minWow! Who saw that coming?! Msakni finds the ball 20 yards out and sets himself up for a shot, which swings into the top right-hand corner of the net. A great lead for Tunisia but a huge blow for their opponents.

90+3 minAlgeria are throwing everything they have in these last few minutes of stoppage time and the men in green currently have a corner...

90+3 minThe keeper comes for it and gets it cleared but Ifa puts it behind for yet another corner, although it comes to nothing.

90+4 minFULL-TIME: Tunisia 1-0 Algeria

7.55pmSo, Tunisia win the North African derby against Algeria in their opening Group D match. For a long time, it looked like the pair would share a point but it was once piece of individual brilliance that separated the two.

7.57pmWhile Youssef Msakni will get the plaudits for his stunning strike, Tunisia's midfield became much tighter in the second half, which helped them control the midfield and launch attacks through the middle of the park.

7.59pmIt's unfortunate for Algeria, who for large parts of the game, especially in the first half, looked likely to snatch the lead but it wasn't to be and they are placed at the bottom of the group.

7.59pmLet's have a look at the standings then after today's play.

Group D

Ivory Coast - 3
Tunisia - 3
Togo - 0
Algeria - 0

8pmWe hope you enjoyed our live coverage of today's Africa Cup of Nation fixtures but be sure to return to Sports Mole tomorrow for the second round of Group A clashes with South Africa vs. Angola and Morocco vs. Cape verde. Enjoy!

Issam Jemaa
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Africa Cup of Nations preview: Tunisia
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