Tunisia got their 2013 Africa Cup of Nations campaign off to a great start when they defeated Algeria 1-0 in their Group D clash at the Royal Bafokeng Stadium on Tuesday night.
Sami Trabelsi’s side went into the match as underdogs and were under pressure for most parts of the game until a late goal from Youssef Msakni helped them to secure all three points.
Tunisia were forced into making an early substitution in the 16th minute as their danger-man Issam Jemaa had to leave the field due to a knee injury.
Then Algeria started to see more of the ball in the 23rd minute Foued Kadir did well to bring down a long pass before cutting in from the left, but his final shot lacked the pace to trouble the Algerian goalkeeper Moez Ben Cherifa.
Six minutes later Sofiane Feghouli beat his marker for pace on the left before squaring the ball towards Islam Slimani, but his headed effort came off the crossbar with the goalkeeper beaten.
The Fennec Foxes continued to ask all the questions and in the 33rd minute Foued Kadir should have done better after receiving a pass from Feghouli inside the box, but he blasted his shot wide.
Then two minutes before the break Tunisia fired their first shot on target when a quick break saw Msakni releasing Saber Khelifa on the right, but his shot was parried away by Rais Mbolhi.
Vahid Halilhodzic’s side came back from the break with the same intent as the first half and in the 56th minute Mesbah was unlucky to his low strike going just wide of the post with the goalkeeper diving very late.
Twelve minutes later Guedioura showed why he was regarded as one of the promising players in the Algerian squad when he unleashed a powerful shot from a distance, but Ben Cherifa was relieved to see the ball flying just over the crossbar.
Then in the 75th minute Tunisia were almost gifted a goal as the Algerians gave away possession to Oussama Darragi, who then found another substitute Hamdi Harbaoui on the right, but he lost his composure and fired wide.
Nonetheless, the Carthage Eagles grabbed maximum points in spectacular fashion in the first minute of added time when Msakni collected the ball outside the box before curling his right-footed shot towards the top right corner.