As early as the second minute, Vladimir
Beschastnykh exaggerated contact and earned Russia a free-kick just outside the Tunisia
area, which Valeri Karpin blasted at Ali Boumnjiel.
For Tunisia, Adel Sellimi tested Rusian
Nigmatullin a minute later, to prove that the North Africans were not here just to make
the numbers up.
On fifteen minutes, Russia combined well on
the right only for Tunisia to disrupt their attack and hook the final lay-off out of
Five minutes later, two Russia defenders
stumbled over each other, as Hassen Gabsi was running onto a through-ball, and Yuri
Kovtun's touch almost beat his own goalkeeper; for what would have been the first own-goal
of the tournament.
Russia slowed down their build-ups through
Karpin and Titov -- letting the ball do the work and the Tunisians the running -- to
conserve their energy in the heat.
Both teams seemed to drag out the end of the
first-half, then Russia upped the tempo slightly in the last seconds and Titov shot
Half-time: Russia 0 --
Dmitri Khokhlov started the second-half in place of Igor
Tunisia started the second-half a little
stronger and looked more dangerous on the approach to goal; creating a couple of good
chances before Beschastnykh -- who seemed out of sorts up front for Russia -- was replaced
by Dmitry Sychev.
-- GOAL -- 1-0
Four minutes after the substitution, Dmitry Sychev flicked the ball back, to beat his
defender, and it bounced at the feet of Spartak teammate Yegor Titov, who
made it look easy to beat the slow to react Nigmatullin -- 59 mins.
The new substitution, and goal, brought Russia
to life and they pushed forward once more.
-- GOAL -- 2-0
The lively Dmitry Sychev was brought down as he tried to turn Radhi Jaidi in the Tunisian
area. Valeri Karpin struck the penalty low, sending the goalkeeper the
wrong way, and hugged the substitute, whose approach work had earned the spot-kick -- 64
Tunisia responded with a double substitution:
Imed Mhedhebi and Zoubaier Baya on for Hassen Gabsi and Adel Sellimi.
Russia could now relax and pass the ball
around without tiring themselves much further, although Tunisia tried to pounce on any
mistakes and counter.
Jaziri, who had already been booked once for
trying to con a penalty from the Jamaican referee was lucky not to get a second yellow
card for trying it on again.