Tunisia beat Zambia 2-1 in Cairo to qualify to the quarter-final phase of the TotalEnergies U-20 Africa Cup of Nations on Monday.
The Young Carthage Eagles came into the decisive match needing to win to secure their place in the last eight of the tournament.
Goals from Jibril Othman and Mohamed Dhaoui on either side of Kingstone Mutandwa equaliser was enough to send Tunisia through in second place behind leaders Gambia while Benin finished third and Zambia bow out as the bottom team.
The Young Carthage Eagles started on a bright note with both sides playing on fast break at the Cairo International Stadium.
The north African broke free on the counter down the right channel through Mohamed Dhaoui whose cross into the Zambian area was fired over by the marauding Rayan Nasraoui.
The Young Copper Bullets forward Derrick Bulaya won possession outside the Tunisian box but his heavy squared pass eluded Mutandwa.
Zambia came close when a corner from the left was headed back into the mix by Mathews Banda but Kingstone Banda couldn’t guide it home.
Full-back Rayan Nasraoui delivered a teasing cross from the left into the box but Jibril Othman’s glancing header came off Onesmus Chipango for a corner.
Tunisia broke the deadlock just after the half hour mark through Jibril Othman’s close range diving header.
The Young Carthage Eagles played a short corner with Mohamed Derbali delivering an inched perfect cross at the far post for Chaim El Djebali to guide it across goal for the unmarked Othman to head into an unguarded Chipolopolo goal.
Othman was close to doubling Tunisia’s lead four minutes before the break when he latched onto a through ball by Mohamed Dhaoui before he dink his effort wide.
Kingstone Mutanda saw his ferocious effort go just wide of Raed Gazzeh’s far post as the Cosafa champions upped the ante in the decisive match at the Cairo International Stadium.
In first half stoppage Zambia should have leveled matters when a quick interchange of passes freed Bulaya whose effort was straight at the keeper.
Kingstone Mutandwa drew level for Zambia with a brilliant goal to bring back Chisi Mbewe’s team into the match on 57 minutes.
The strong Mutandwa controlled a long throw in with his back to goal wiggling away from Mohamed Kechiche before firing past Raed Gazzeh.
Tunisia regained the lead two after Zambia’s equaliser when Jibril Othman’s cross field ball was not dealt with by Amon Chulu freeing Mohamed Dhaoui to cut in before picking the roof of the net with a sumptuous strike on 59 minutes.
The Chipolopolo upped the ante in the last quarter of the match as they pushed for the equaliser.
An inviting cross into the box forced Gazzeh into an awkward save before Bulaya volleyed a low drive past the near post ten minutes from time.
The North Africans held on to secure the points and go through to the business end of the TotalEnergies U-20 Africa Cup of Nations Egypt 2023.