Oman upsets Tunisia in friendly

Midfielder Ahmed Mubarak converted two penalties to give Oman a

surprise 2-1 victory over Tunisia in a friendly at the Seeb Sports

Stadium on Tuesday.

The first penalty was awarded in the 10th minute after Oman

striker Emad al Hosni was brought down by Tunisia’s Khaled Korbi,

with Saudi Arabian referee Khalil Jalal pointing to the spot.

Tunisia, the 2004 African Cup of Nations winner, grabbed an

equalizer when Oman goalkeeper Ali al Habsi failed to hold a shot

from Fahid Ben Khalfallah and Sami Allagu pounced on the loose ball

to score.

Mubarak converted the winner from the spot in the 85th minute

after Tunisia captain Karim Haggui brought down substitute Hassan

Rabee’a.

Oman, ranked 110th compared to Tunisia’s 45 and playing under

caretaker coach Hamad al Azzani since the departure of Frenchman

Claude Le Roy in January, staved off a determined late rally to

earn a first win since beating Gabon in Oct. 2010.

It was the first friendly for Tunisia since the North African

nation ended President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali’s 24-year rule

following a popular uprising.

The defeat was also the first for coach Sami Trabelsi since he

took over in late 2010. Prior to Tuesday’s friendly, he had led the

team to six victories and drawn four.

”It was a tough match for us. The boys did commit a few

mistakes in the midfield and defence that cost us. The team cannot

afford to make such mistakes,” Trabelsi said.

Tunisia’s lineup had six professionals playing in Europe, while

Oman had only one, Wigan goalkeeper Al Habsi.

The defeat is also a jolt to Tunisia’s preparations for its

upcoming 2012 African Cup of Nations qualifiers against Chad and

Malawi. Tunisia is currently second in Group K.

Lineups:

Oman: Ali al Habsi, Abdulrehman Saleh, Mohammed Sheeba (Nasser

al Shimli, 80), Saad Suhail, Ahmed Mubarak ‘Kanu’, Ismail al Ajmi

(Eid al Farsi, 69) , Hassan Mudhaffar, Fauzi Bashir, Ahmed Hadeed

(Mansoor al Nuaimi, 69), Emad al Hosni (Hassan Rabee’a, 76), Qasim

Said (Juma Darwish, 80).

Tunisia: Rami Jeridi, Karim Haggui, Sami Allagui, Khaled Korbi,

Fahid Ben Khalfallah, Adel Chedli (Jomaa Issam, 64), Majdi Traoui,

Chadi Hammami, Hatem Bejaoui (Ammar Jemal, 61), Seifallah Hosni,

Amine Chermiti (Majid Shahoudi, 46).