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Africa Cup of Nations | Group Stage
Jan 20, 2024 at 8pm UK
Stade Olympique de Rades

1 - 1

Rafia (20')
Jaziri (90+4'), Laidouni (90+8')
FT(HT: 1-1)
Sinayoko (10')

Preview: Tunisia vs. Mali - prediction, team news, lineups

:Headline: Preview: Tunisia vs. Mali - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Saturday's Africa Cup of Nations clash between Tunisia and Mali, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Sports Mole

Tunisia seek a response to their opening defeat at the Africa Cup of Nations when they take on Mali at Amadou Gon Coulibaly Stadium on Saturday.

The Eagles of Carthage were stunned by Namibia on Tuesday, while the West African nation secured a routine victory over South Africa in the first round of fixtures in Group E.

Match preview

Tunisia were meant to wipe the floor with Namibia but were on the receiving end of a loss against the Southern African nation.

The defeat was deserved, with the less fancied nation creating a glut of goalscoring chances before finally going in front through Deon Hotto in the 88th minute for the Brave Warriors' first-ever victory at the Cup of Nations.

Jalel Kadri's men must bounce back from the perceived ignominy to avoid a potential early exit at the finals, even if finishing third could still be enough if results elsewhere are favourable.

Having avoided group-stage elimination since the 2013 competition in South Africa, Tunisia seek to continue a run that has seen them reach the tournament's quarter-finals in the previous four AFCONs.

However, the North African nation have put themselves in a precarious position and must turn in an outstanding showing to defeat one of AFCON 2023's most intense sides.

Mali's pressing caught the eye against South Africa, with the Eagles forcing 11 high turnovers in their 2-0 success over Bafana Bafana.

The West African side generated three shots from those forced ball regains, more than any side managed in the competition's opening round of games.

Their opening game could have turned out differently, but Percy Tau missed a 19th-minute penalty for the 1996 African champions with the game still goalless, and the Eagles punished them after the break.

Eric Chelle's men seek to confirm progress to the first knockout round with a win, even if a point puts them in a favourable position to progress if they lose in the final game against Namibia.

Mali have never made it to the first knockout round in three consecutive tournaments, a statistic they are keen to change with a positive result against Tunisia.

The Eagles are undefeated in their previous two AFCON meetings with the North African side, defeating the 2004 champions 1-0 at the last edition, and a similar outcome will please Chelle and his troops.

Tunisia Africa Cup of Nations form:

Tunisia form (all competitions):

Mali Africa Cup of Nations form:

Mali form (all competitions):

Team News

Taha Yassine Khenissi was withdrawn after 15 minutes against Namibia, and the striker is not expected back in the team for Tunisia's round two game.

Haythem Jouini should replace the striker in the only anticipated alteration for the Eagles of Carthage.

Hamari Traore and Lassine Sinayoko were the goalscorers should retain their spots in Saturday's clash after goalscoring performances against South Africa.

Yves Bissouma, who won seven of nine ground duels in Mali's triumph over Bafana Bafana, should start for the Eagles in midfield.

Tunisia possible starting lineup:
Said; Kechrida, Meriah, Talbi, Maaloul; Slimane, Skhiri, Laidouni; Achouri, Jouini, Msakni

Mali possible starting lineup:
Diarra; Traore, Kouyate, Niakata, Sacko; Dieng, Bissouma, Haidara; Doumbia; Sinayoko, Koita

We say: Tunisia 1-1 Mali

Mali seemed more coherent in their opening fixture against South Africa, and that should put them in a place of comfort before facing an under-pressure Tunisia side, who looked ropey in their defeat to Namibia.

Both sides could accept a point in Korhogo, with the teams possibly cancelling each other out on Saturday.

For data analysis of the most likely results, scorelines and more for this match please click here.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at are predicting under 2.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Under 2.5:data

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