James Cormack (@jamescormack_) previews Mauritania v Tunisia and provides us with his best bets for this crucial Group E clash by analysing team news, potential line-ups, head-to-head, key stats and facts and more.

  • 2019 Profit & Loss: +4.395pts

Mauritania v Tunisia Betting Preview, Odds & Tips

  • Date: 02/07/19
  • Time: 20:00
  • Venue:  Suez Stadium
  • Channel: Eurosport

Tunisia will be looking to secure a top-two finish in Group E as they take on Mauritania on matchday three, a side that has only mustered a point from their two games.

With Tunisia being the second-highest ranked African side coming into the tournament at 25th, many would’ve expected the Eagles of Carthage to stroll through a group that consists of Mali (63rd), Angola (123rd) and Tuesday’s opponents (103rd). However, it hasn’t been the case with Tunisia drawing their two games so far in the competition, leaving them second with two points and with everything to play for going into their final game.

A defeat for Tunisia would see them out of the competition whilst a win could see them top the group, hoping that Angola gets a result against Mali, who currently top the group with 4 points.

Tunisia’s performance at last year’s World Cup should’ve given them confidence going into this competition. In a group that had the likes of England and Belgium, who ended up being semi-finalists, they held their own, succumbing to a stoppage-time Harry Kane header against England and also scoring on two occasions against the Red Devils (albeit conceding five at the other end). Their reward for two decent showings in their first two group games was a 2-1 victory against Panama, meaning they finished third in the group with 3 points.

One man that Tunisian fans will be looking for to provide the goods in Suez on Tuesday is Wahbi Khazri. The ex-Sunderland midfielder scored in his side’s 1-1 draw against Mali on Friday and enjoyed a fine season in Ligue 1 with St. Etienne, registering 19 G+A’s. From his no.10 role, he’s someone that will certainly pose a threat to this Mauritania side on Tuesday.

Mauritania are certainly a nation I’m not so familiar with, footballing wise. This is their first ever African Cup of Nations and they were able to secure their first ever point in the competition, holding Angola to a 0-0. This will certainly be a learning experience for Corentin Martins’ side who were also beaten 4-1 in their first game against Mali.

Looking at their starting XI for their game against Angola, I don’t think any members would be recognised by even your know-all football fans with most of the Mauritania side applying their trade in the lower levels of French football, Greece, Turkey, Tunisia and their own country. To get a point and score in the tournament is already an achievement and they should come into this one like they have the previous two, with no pressure at all and will be hoping to make it tricky for a Tunisia side that has a lot more expectation and realistically, more to play for.

Team News        

The duo of Ghailene Chaalali and Ayman Ben Mohamed will not be available for Tunisia FOR Tuesday’s game.

While Ben Mohammed is out injured, his compatriot Chaalali will miss the crucial clash against the tournament debutants having received two yellow cards in the earlier games against Angola and Mali.

Potential Mauritania Starting XI: Souleymane, Diaw, N’Diaye, Ba, Abeid, Dellah Yaly, Camara, Diakite, Hacen, Ahmed, Ba

Potential Tunisia Starting XI: Ben Mustapha, Kechrida, Bronn, Meriah, Haddadi, Sassi, Skhiri, Badri, Khazri, Sliti, Khenissi

Head To Head

  • All-time: Mauritania-0, Draw-2, Tunisia-9.

Key Stats & Facts

  • This is Mauritania’s first ever AFCON.
  • This is Tunisia’s 19th appearance in the AFCON and their 14th in succession, last failing to qualify in 1992.
  • The Carthage Eagles won their only AFCON title in 2004, defeating Morocco 2-1 in the final in their home tournament.
  • In 2019, Mauritania have won just one of their 6 games, beating Madagascar 3-1 prior to the tournament.
  • Tunisia were able to overcome Croatia in one of their warm-up games, beating the World Cup finalists 2-1.
  • Wahbi Khazri’s tally of 13 goals for St. Etienne last season was the 9th best in Ligue 1

Betting Odds

  • Mauritania 27/4
  • Draw 20/7
  • Tunisia 4/7

The Verdict

The tournament debutantes are massive underdogs for this one and rightly so. Tunisia have shown over the past year that they are more than capable and should be competing with the likes of Senegal and Egypt for winning this tournament outright. They need to win here to qualify and I think they will, pretty comfortably. I don’t see Mauritania causing any problems for the Eagles of Carthage on Tuesday night so I’m going to back Tunisia to win to nil.

With Tunisia needing a result on Tuesday in order to qualify, I’d expect their star man to come to the fore and provide the goods for his country. Wahbi Khazri is 6/4 to get on the scoresheet and this is a bet I’m willing to take on when you look at his goal record for St. Etienne last season. The ex-Sunderland man got on the scoresheet rather fortuitously against Mali with his deflected free-kick wrong-footing the goalkeeper, but, I fancy his chances of getting a few opportunities from his no.10 or no.9 role against a Mauritania side that has kept one clean sheet in its last 7 games, with that clean sheet coming in their last game against Angola.

Recommended Bets

  • 2pts – Tunisia to win to nil – 20/21 (bet365)
  • 1pt – Wahbi Khazri anytime- 6/4 (Marathon Bet)