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QUALIFIED GAMBIA TAKES ON TUNISIA IN GROUP FINALE

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Separated by just one point in Group F of the Africa Cup of Nations, Gambia and Tunisia go head to head at the Limbe Omnisport Stadium today at 7 PM.

Gambia currently lead the way in the group table, level on four points with second-place Mali, while the Eagles of Carthage are third with three points from two outings.

Gambia maintained their fine start to the Africa Cup of Nations as they put on a resilient display to come from behind to salvage a 1-1 draw against Mali last Sunday.

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Following an uneventful first half, Ibrahima Kone converted his 79th-minute penalty to put the Eagles ahead but Musa Barrow was calm under pressure as he made no mistake from the opposite penalty spot to restore parity in the 90th minute.

Tom Santfiet will be delighted with his side’s start to the tournament after they opened their campaign with a hard-earned 1-0 victory over a resilient Mauritania side when they squared off last Wednesday.

Having amassed four points from their first two games, Gambia are currently top of Group F and a share of the spoils today will be enough to see them through to the last 16.

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Meanwhile, Tunisia got their AFCON campaign up and running last time out when they cruised to a dominant 4-0 win over Mauritania at the Limbe Omnisport Stadium.

After racing to a two-goal lead inside the opening nine minutes through Hamza Mathlouthi and Wahbi Khazri, the Saint-Etienne forward scored his second of the game four minutes after the hour mark before setting up Seifeddine Jaziri’s strike two minutes later.

This followed a somewhat disappointing 1-0 defeat at the hands of Mali in their group curtain-raiser on January 12, when Ibrahima Kone scored the only goal of the game from the penalty spot three minutes after the half-time break.

Tunisia, who are currently third in the group standings with three points from two outings, have now won just one of their last three games in all competitions, losing two of those games, including December’s Arab Cup final against Algeria.

However, Mondher Kebaier’s men will feel confident of claiming the desired result and progressing to the next phase of the tournament as they go up against an opposing side who are currently 120 places below them according to the Gambia’s latest FIFA World Rankings.

Barrow has been involved in Gambia’s two goals at the tournament, scoring one and assisting the other, and the Bologna forward will look to come up trumps for the Scorpions once again.

However, Levski Sofia defender Noah Sonko Sundberg is a doubt for Thursday’s game after coming off with a 73rd-minute injury against Mali last time out.

His replacement Saidy Janko came on for his first appearance of the tournament and the 26-year-old could be handed a starting role by Saintfiet.

Meanwhile, Jaziri is a doubt for Tunisia after the Zamalek forward picked up a slight knock which saw him make way for Aissa Laidouni midway through Sunday’s win over Mauritania.

Other than that, there are no concerns on the injury front for the Eagles of Carthage and we expect Kebaier to name a similar starting side against the Scorpions.

Khazri turned in a performance of the highest quality against Mauritania and the Saint-Etienne forward, who is second on the nation’s all-time scoring chart with 24 goals in 67 games, will definitely be one to keep an eye out for.

Gambia possible starting lineup:

Jobe; Modou, Colley, Gomez, Touray; Adams, Bobb, Marreh, Jallow; Barrow, Ceesay

Tunisia possible starting lineup:

Said; Mathlouthi, Ifa, Talbi, Maaloul; Slimane, Skhiri, Chaalali; Mejbri; Khazri, Laidouni

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