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Sierra Leone 2-2 Tunisia: A second half revival in Freetown


5DDespite going down as early as the 8th minute at the sold out at Brookefields National Stadium due to a comedic mistake by Saber Khlifa, the Carthage Eagles were able to regain their composure in the second half and play something resembling football on a catastrophically waterlogged pitch.

It was a frustrating beginning to the match for our team and fans alike. As the players struggled to cope with the Sierra Leone’s pressure while Tunisian viewers sat around impatiently waiting for a feed of pitiful quality that didn’t arrive until past the midway point of the first half.

Instead of the highly anticipated game, we were treated to endless mumbo jumbo by Mahmoud Ouertani and Skander Kasri.

It’s not everyday that you hear guys talking about the importance of not conceding an early goal without knowing that we’ve already done so…

We survived the first half and came out a different team after Sami Trabelsi gave his men an earful in the dressing room. Knowing his composed style, it probably wasn’t too agressive but incisive and to the point. While we were still subjected to plenty of slips and tumbles, there was clearly a renewed intent to hold onto possession and build attack patiently instead of punting the ball upfield.

On came Darragi for Saihi to further improve our ball conservation. The move worked wonders as the FC Sion playmaker created both our goals with his ability to see the telling pass and execute it. While his performance and that of Gharbi’s were exceptional, that of Jemaa and Balbouli were the complete opposite. The latter nearly cost us the game, once again raising the question of whether or not it’s time to turn to Ben Cherifia or Ben Mustapha permanently. And what can we say about Jemaa that we haven’t already? The man is an enigma.

Considering the state of the pitch, the blatant refereeing mistakes, and how this match began, a 2-2 away draw in Freetown is a very positive result. We have every chance of progressing when we meet the same squad on October 13. Let’s just hope that we don’t need to wait so long to play to our real level once again. Full credit to our players for staying committed, especially after the second goal. Other editions of the Carthage Eagles might have relented, but not the Trabelsi-led version!

To see the goals, check Tunisia World Cup Blog’s Facebook page.

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