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Tunisia, Angola square off in Group E opener

Tunisia are favourites in Group E. (PHOTOS/Agencies)

AFCON 2019

Tunisia vs Angola

New Suez Stadium, Suez

Monday, 24-06-2019 @8pm

SUEZ – Tunisia and Angola will meet on Monday for their first matches of Africa Cup of Nations 2019 at the New Suez Stadium.

With the game being the first in Group E, both teams will be looking to take the initiative before Mali take on Mauritania in the other game.

Tunisia head into the encounter hoping they can kick-start their charge towards a second Africa Cup of Nations title, having won it on home soil in 2004.

The Carthage Eagles have every reason to be confident after beating World Cup finalists Croatia 2-1 in their penultimate warm-up game.

Manager Alain Giresse says his players are prepared for the Egyptian heat and are full of desire to go all the way.

Giresse’s men are favourites to top Group E, and the former France midfielder also said he is satisfied with his players’ preparations.

“We hope to make an exceptional Cup of Nations,” said Giresse.

“All players are motivated by the desire to negotiate all three matches and go further in this tournament.

“We put emphasis on the technical, physical and mental aspects of the players so that they are in top condition to start the tournament and ready to overcome any difficulties, such as the heat.

“The players are showing great determination and good morale. The experience that some players have is going to help the team to take up the challenge and make the difference.”

Angola who are featuring in only their 8th finals and will be hoping to reach the knock-out stage for only the third time.

This will be their first appearance at the finals since 2013 where they were eliminated at the group stage.

Angola las featured at the finals in 2013.

Angola made it through a tight group on their way here, edging out Mauritania and Burkina Faso to make the tournament.

They were fine in qualifying, but there’s little in their results to suggest that they’ll be much of a threat in Egypt.

The Giants Sable Antelopes will put their hopes in striker Mateus who has scored 12 goals in 60 National team appearances.

Match Stats

Tunisia have qualified for the Africa Cup of Nations finals on every occasion since 1994; they won the tournament in 2004 and have only failed to reach the knockout phase in two of the last eight editions of the AFCON.

They qualified for the tournament as winners of Group J, losing only one match against Egypt along the way so they will carry confidence into this opener.

Tunisia will look to dangerman Wahbi Khazri to provide the main attacking threat for them while another player who may prove a threat to opposition defences is Naïm Sliti, who was their top scorer in qualifying.

Angola are back at the finals for the first time since 2013; they have not made it out of the group stage at the tournament since reaching back-to-back quarter-finals in 2008 and 2010.

They qualified courtesy of finishing at the top of a qualifying group containing Mauritania, Burkina Faso and Botswana but did lose two of their three away matches during the campaign. Veteran forward Mateus was the top scorer in their qualifying group with four goals.

Angola have struggled to make it out of the group stage at the Africa Cup of Nations and it appears they will face an uphill struggle to do so again with Tunisia and Mali expected to progress.

The other games on Monday

-Tunisia vs Angola @8pm
-Mali vs Mauritania @11pm

Sunday’s results

-Morocco 1-0 Namibia

-Senegal 2-0 Tanzania

-Algeria 2-0 Kenya

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