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WC Qualification Africa

2022 World Cup Qualifier: Tunisia defender Montassar wary of Mali threat

15:36 BST 29/03/2022
Montassar Talbi, Tunisia, AFCON
The Carthage Eagles are hoping to complete the job and play in the Fifa World Cup for the sixth time in their history

Tunisia defender Talbi Montassar insists his teammates have to remain focused to stand a chance of 'finishing' the job when they play Mali on Tuesday night in the second leg of the 2022 World Cup qualifier.

The North Africans needed a Moussa Sissako own goal on Friday, March 25 to get a slim advantage, and will hope to get another positive outcome in Rades to make it to Qatar.

However, the Rubin Kazan defender concedes the Eagles are not an easy team and they will be aiming at causing an upset.

"We are very proud but we are also staying focused because we are aware that we haven't finished the job yet," Montassar told BBC Sport Africa.

"It was a difficult game on Friday against a very good Mali team. We had a positive result but we also know that Mali is a dangerous team when they play away from home so we have to stay focused.

"We'll try to do a great game at home on Tuesday to bring back the qualification."

This will be the third time the two nations are meeting in less than two months. The initial meeting was in the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) held in Cameroon between January and February.

The two nations were in Group F and Ibrahima Kone scored the lone goal of the match to ensure Mali collected maximum points. In that particular match, which was marred by officiating controversy, Wahbi Khazri failed to convert the Carthage Eagles penalty.

While Mali have never made it to the World Cup, Tunisia have qualified five times.

The first time they qualified was in 1978 before waiting for 20 years to make it to the global competition again. The three other appearances were in 2002, 2006, and 2018 respectively.

If they manage to get an aggregate win over Mali, the North Africans will be among the five nations that will be fighting for the trophy in Qatar.