Leekens relieved as Tunisia bounce back from poor start

Zambia’s goalkeeper Kennedy Mweene, right, defends against Tunisia’s Yassine Chikhaoui, left, during their African Cup of Nations Group B match (Photo: AP)
Thursday 22 Jan 2015
Tunisia coach Georges Leekens was relieved on Thursday after seeing his side recover from a poor start to come back and beat Zambia 2-1 at the Africa Cup of Nations

"We had problems finding our balance in the first half. We always have problems at the start of matches. It was only in the second half that we took responsibility. In the end we deserved to win," said the Belgian after the match in Ebebiyin, which left the Carthage Eagles with four points from two games in Group B.

Emmanuel Mayuka put Zambia ahead on 59 minutes, but Ahmed Akaichi levelled 20 minutes from time before captain Yassine Chikhaoui snatched a late winner.

"We have four points but everyone is still in contention. We are not the best team, we don't have Ronaldo or Messi, but we have a team with enormous character and great mental strength," Leekens added.

"Now we need to be careful against Congo and approach the match as if it were a final."

Tunisia now require only a point from their final group game against DR Congo to clinch their place in the quarter-finals, despite complaints from Leekens about the quality of accommodation provided for his team in Equatorial Guinea.

"The pitch was good, it has to be said (but) we have had a few problems the last few days, especially trying to sleep," he added.

"Maybe in the last match we will make some changes to bring some fresh legs in."

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