Follow for all HIGHLIGHTS from the FIFA World Cup clash between Australia and Tunisia.
Six minutes added on. Australia has all its players back in their defensive third. Sassi is reprimanded for a handball. A yellow card for him. Tunisia charges ahead, again and again, but can’t sidestep the determined Aussie defence. And it is full-time. A vital win for Australia as it put itself back in the race for the knockouts.
Australia looking potent in counterattacks. Tunisia comes forward in numbers, but Aussie defenders are putting their bodies on the line to save their slender. Khazri is found in the box, but his shot is straight at Ryan and he doesn’t fumble.
Australia slows down the game as the full time whistle approaches. A double change for Australia as Leckie and Goodwin are taken off.
Leckie is momentarily down after jumping into a tackle. He receives some medical attention and is soon back in the middle. Mooy has been controlling the game down the middle for Australia.
Tunisian fans are praying for a revival as their side throws more and more players forward.
Msakni forces Ryan to make a diving save. At the other end, Goodwin drills yet another good cross, which goes inches wide of a diving Aussie attacker. The game has opened up in the last few minutes.
Tunisia brings in Khazri as it tries to amp up its attacks. A sustained spell of possession for the African side but it can’t progress the ball much upfield.
Tunisia raiding down the left flank, but Karacic and Leckie combine to shut that attack down. Potential match winner Duke is taken off for Maclaren.
Australia has rode past the initial wave of Tunisian attacks in the second half. Now it looks comfortable with the lead and is looking the more likelier side to score.
Tunisia has pushed Australia back into its half as it continues its probe for an equaliser. Australia breaks forward after some good work from Irwine. Goodwin thrashes a cross across the face of the goa, but wasn’t followed closely by any of the other attackers.
Tunisia has started the second half with greater intent. It wins another freekick, but Ryan comes charging out of the box to punch it away. Jebali is at the heart of Tunisia’s rise in the second half as he drives the attack down the right this time.
Tunisia wins a corner early in the game. They play it short, but eventually loses possession to a well packed Aussie defence.
Tunisia begins its hunt for an equaliser or maybe a match winner.
Another freekick for Australia, but Tunisia manages to head it away in time. Aussies win a corner down the right and it is Goodwin at the end of it. He swings it in the first post. Again, Tunisia clears its lines Five minutes added on. Jebali finds a yard of space down the right a drives a cross in for Msakni, only for him to drill it just wide off the post. And that is HALF TIME!!
Tunisi’a Drager is down on the ground after a collision with an Australian player. The games restart soon. Tunisia attacks and Jebali’s physicality provides Drager an opportunity to shoot at goa. But the Australian defence is quick to line up and Souttar blocks that shot.
Australia with the corner. Goodwin swings it in to the first post, but Irvine’s inventive attempt drifted away from the goal post.
Tunisia tries to turn on the heat with some rough tackles at both ends of the pitch. Meanwhile, Hanbibal Mejbri, who is on the bench for Tunisia, tosses a ball back into play and it lands on Duke, who was on the ground. Mejbri was quick to apologise there, though.
Australia has captured the momentum in this momentum with that goal. Duke flies into a tackle and his tenacity is applauded by the Aussie bench,
Australia attacks down the left. Goodwin tries to swing a cross in from left, but it deflects off a defender’s boot and bounces right on to the path of Duke, who diverts it into the goal with his head. GOALLL!!!!
Tunisia with the first real attack of the game. Jebali is released into space, but Aussie defenders were quick to crowd him out. Tunisia getting itself into the game better.
The game is getting by the minute, with players steaming into duels. Duke is the latest player to come second best in one such coming together.
Both sides are locked in a heavy midfield battle for control of the game. Leckie gets a few chances to cross the ball in from the right, but his delivery was lacking in both occasions.
Mooy sets up a freekick from deep. He sends it deep and a cross emerges from the left flank, which is headed away by Tunisian defence.
Fans from both sides are enjoying the atmosphere at the Al Janoub Stadium. Tunisia steals the ball at half way and tries to set off on a counter, but Abdi’s touch was too strong and a chance to gain territory fails.
Australia attacks down the left, but cross from the flank is weak. Mooy is fouled following that move and Australia wins the first freekick of the game, which is duly cleared away by Tunisian defence.
Australia in the dark blue kit and Tunisia in its white kit. Both sides give away possession a couple of times in the early minutes.
The national anthems are done and the teams are ready for the game. One change apiece for both sides.
Expect “TUN-is, TUN-is, TUN-is” chants to reverberate around the Al Janoub stadium as Tunisia enjoys overwhelming home-like support when it takes on Australia in each team’s second match at the World Cup on Saturday.
One of the four Arab teams at the first World Cup in the Middle East, Tunisia had arguably the loudest set of fans in the first round of games when it held European Championship semifinalist Denmark to a 0-0 draw.
And the support isn’t just from Tunisians. Fans waving Palestinian flags have been following Tunisia, and there are also supporters of the squad from Egypt and Algeria.
Tunisia’s team bus was mobbed by red-clad fans upon arrival in Qatar last week.
“We know the value of our Tunisian supporters in Doha, and the Tunisian diaspora,” coach Jalel Kadri said. “This gives us a strong morale boost.”
Both teams will have higher expectations, after Australia was beat 4-1 by defending champion France in its Group D opener.
All four of France’s goals came from attacks down the flanks, with three of them headed in.
“Conceding three goals from wide areas is obviously a very clear lesson for us to learn,” Australia midfielder Jackson Irvine said. “We obviously have to deal with the crosses better.”
France leads the group with three points, Tunisia and Denmark are next with one point each and Australia trails with none.
Tunisia is seeking to advance from the group stage for the first time in its sixth World Cup appearance, while Australia has only reached the last 16 once — in 2006 — in five previous trips to football’s biggest event.
“There’s a bit more pressure because Australia have nothing to lose now. It’s like a final for them,” Tunisia defender Mohamed Dräger said. “We need to be ready like (Tuesday). With the same spirit and the same concentration we can achieve something.”
Tunisia’s spirit is embodied by combative midfielder Aïssa Laïdouni, who earned player of the match honors against Denmark in his first career World Cup match.
Laïdouni set the tone in the very first minute when he stripped Denmark playmaker Christian Eriksen of the ball with an aggressive sliding tackle — then stood up and pumped his arms menacingly, gesturing to the crowd to get even more fired up.
“It’s important to come at the game with a lot of determination,” Laïdouni said. “This is World Cup, it’s not a small competition. … It’s also important to show (the fans) we are so determined.”
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