Tunisia Close to Qualification, DRC Still in the Hunt


Youssef Msakni capped an outstanding display with a hat-trick and Naby Keita was sent off for violent conduct as Tunisia came from behind to beat Guinea 4-1 and remain at the top of World Cup qualifying Group A.

However, the Democratic Republic of Congo are still in the hunt after beating Libya 2-1 in Monastir.

Tunisia seized the initiative in the group when they took four points from their double header against the Congolese during the last international break, and stay three points clear ahead of their final qualifier at home against Libya.

DR Congo, who have scored more than their rivals, would pip Tunisia to top spot if they beat Guinea at home and the North Africans lose in their final fixture, but look set to rue their capitulation at home in Kinshasa on matchday four.

The same grit that saw Nabil Maaloul’s side come from two goals down to snatch a draw from their nearest rivals last month was evident again as they bounced back after falling behind when Guinea’s Keita opened the scoring with a clever finish after 37 minutes.

Having earlier hit the bar, Msakni responded moments before the break with a free kick, before adding a second 15 minutes from time.

The Al-Duhail playmaker was again at the heart of things late on, when he played in Mohamed Amine Ben Amor to kill off the contest with the visitors’ third in the 84th minute.

The outstanding Msakni completed his hat-trick at the death after tapping home Ali Maaloul’s magnificent cross, while Keita was sent off for slapping an opponent late on.

Congo also stuttered en route to three points when Libya’s Elmutasem Al Musrati struck in the 69th minute to cancel out Cedric Bakambu’s opener.

The in-form Villarreal forward capped off a period of Congolese pressure with a scrappy goal to give the Leopards the lead in the 50th minute.

However, Wilfred Moke nabbed the winner for the Leopards in the 74th minute after some dismal defending to keep Florent Ibenge’s side in the hunt, although they’ll know that Tunisia will be overwhelming favourites to get the job done at home against Libya in their final fixture next month.