Tunisia rode their luck to take a point from their first game of this year’s African Nations Cup.
The Carthage Eagles fought back from a goal down to earn a 1-1 draw although they had to withstand some serious Zambia pressure in the second half.
Zambia began the game the livelier and tested Aymen Mathlouthi with an effort from Rainford Kalaba which hit the side netting.
In the 19th minute the Zambians took the lead through a Jacob Mulenga strike from 12 yards. Mathlouthi will have been disappointed with the goal as he let the ball slip underneath his body when it seemed easier to save the ball.
Tunisia were struggling to find their rhythm but worked hard to get themselves back into the match. They were rewarded in the 40th minute when they equalised through Zouheir Dhaoudi. Midfielder Youssef Msakni broke down the left wing, as he ran into the penalty area he drew goalkeeper Kennedy Mweene out of his net before side footing the ball across the goal for Dhaoudi to fire home from 8 yards.
The goal gave Tunisia fresh impetous and they started the second half much better than the first. Left back Yassin Mikari had an early chance to give them the lead but his long range strike crashed against the post.
Mikari was again involved as Tunisia began to dominate, the full back picked out Oussama Darragi who forced a near-post save from Mweene.
With Tunisia unable to find the breakthrough it gave the Zambians hope and they clawed their way back into the match and had three good chances to win this match.
The best chance fell to Kalaba but he was unable to convert a cross from Christopher Katongo in the 69th minute.
Two minutes later substitute Zambia striker Emmanuel Mayuka found the back of the net with his first touch, but was correctly adjudged off-side.
The ball was in the back of the Tunisians net on 84 minutes but Emmanuel Mayuka’s effort was rightly disallowed for offside.
Both sides will be pleased not to lose their first game but given Cameroon’s defeat to Gabon they will be disappointed not to take all three points and give them an early advantage over the tournament favourites.
Tunisia’s next match is against group leaders Gabon on Sunday.
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