Tunisia beat Namibia 2-0 at the Cheikh Ould Boidiya Stadium in Nouakchott on Thursday to boost their hopes of progressing to the knockout phases of the Total Under-20 Africa Cup of Nations.
Goals in either half from Marc Martin Lamti and Hassan Ayari earned Tunisia their first win of the tournament as they moved to four points after two matches. Namibia remain with just the single point picked up after match day one from their draw against Central Africa Republic.
The Southern Africans paid the ultimate price for their missed chances and found themselves trailing by a goal at the break.
Lamti broke the deadlock after 28 minutes when he rose highest inside the six yard box to thump in a header off Mohamed Aziz Guesmi’s well delivered freekick.
Before the goal, the COSAFA champions were the most colorful in attack and had several scoring opportunities, but poor decisions when it came to pulling the strings in the final third cost them the chance to go into the lead first.
Edmar Kamatuka had the first chance for Namibia in the ninth minute when he picked out a cross from Giovani Kaninab inside the box, but his shot at goal was blocked at point blank. Kamatuka had another chance for Namibia five minutes later with a curling freekick from range, but it flew straight to the keeper’s waiting arms.
Tunisia almost grabbed the lead on the quarter hour mark but Mootez Zaddem’s well angled header off a Guesmi cross from the right came off cracking against the crossbar.
Namibia had two more chances to score, first skipper Steven Damaseb striking a well weighted shot from distance which was once again picked by the keeper before Kamatuka shot inches wide inside the box after being put through by Kaninab.
Courtesy of some poor marking at the backpost, Namibia found themselves trailing after 28 minutes.
They could have drawn level nine minutes to the break when another opportunity presented itself, this time Damaseb hoping to catch Tunisian keeper Elias Imed offguard with a freekick from distance but the keeper back-peddled to collect the ball.
It took Tunisia just two minutes into the second half to double their tally, Ayari beating the Namibian keeper hands down with a neat shot from inside the box.
The Namibians seemed dazed and deflated after going two down. They however tried a route back with Prins Tjiueza attracting a good save off the Tunisian keeper after pickpocketing Ramzi Ferjani of the ball inside the area and sending in a curling shot.
The Tunisians made a double change, skipper Zied Berrima and Abdallah Amri coming off for Hamdi Abidi and Farouk Kimouni. From then on, it was the Tunisians comfortably on the drivers’ seat.
Abidi came close thrice. His first effort was just eight minutes after coming on when he dribbled his way into the box, but Namibian defender Baggio Nashixwa made a brilliant tackle to poke the ball off his feet as he prepared to pull the trigger.
He then forced Namibian keeper Ruhuka Ngatangue to a good one handed save when he found space on the right before sending a shot in. The sturdy custodian denied him once again when he tried his luck with a spectacular bicycle kick inside the area.
Ngatangue still had to make a double save late on, first parrying away a shot from Farouk Mimouni from the edge of the box before he leapt back to block Abidi’s effort from the rebound
Tunisia were comfortable on and off the ball and they managed to cleanly see out the result and keep a second consecutive clean sheet.