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Egypt slumped to a surprising 1-0 defeat by Tunisia in their opening 2019 African Nations Cup qualifier game at Rhades Stadium on Sunday.

Striker Yassine Yassine netted the Carthage Eagles winner in the 49th minute when he coolly slotted home after being perfectly set up by Ben Youssef.

Carthage Eagles deployed a conservative approach for much of the match, but stole the points as the first half produced little in the way of goalmouth action or scoring chances, though Egypt came closest to breaking the deadlock when Taha Khenisi rattled the crossbar with a 20-metre free-kick in the 15th minute.

Ali Maaloul was the main orchestrator in midfield for Egypt and wasn’t afraid to try his luck with long-range shots, such as in the 35th minute when he fired a low, left-footed effort just wide.

As the first half began to wind down, Tunisia slowly began to come to life, though the most they could offer in attack was a Youssef shot that flashed wide of Sherif Ekmary left-hand upright.

In the second half Carthage Eagles upped their game significantly, looking a lot more composed and comfortable.

And within the first threeminutes,Msakni gifted Tunisia after sending a silly through-ball to Yassine who sneaked in behind the defenders and slotted home from close range.

Ten minutes to the final whistle, it was Pharaohas who were creating the better opportunities and Mostafa Fathi twice came close with long-range shots, stinging the palms of Tunisia custodian in the 76th minute and firing a fierce effort just wide less than 60 seconds later.

On 85 minutes they again goat counter-attack produced the best scoring chance of the game, but Abdsllah El-Said fired wide of the target with only goalie to beat, though the keeper deserved credit for rushing off his line to put the midfielder under pressure.

Tunisia held their win and now Pharaohs sit at the bottom of Group J with no pints after their other group opponents Niger and Swaziland played out a goalless draw on Saturday.

A lover of African football who boasts experience in journalism, having previously worked at Brand Agenda Publications, East Africa University News and University Post in Uganda before moving to On Twitter @fgchuma

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