Preview: Egypt up against familiar opponents Tunisia in Arab Cup semis

Ahram Online , Tuesday 14 Dec 2021

Egypt's players will be up against some club teammates when they meet Tunisia in the FIFA Arab Cup semi-final at Qatar's Stadium 974 on Wednesday.

Egypt s national team
Egypt s players celebrate their win during the FIFA Arab Cup 2021 quarter final football match between Egypt and Jordan at the Al-Janoub Stadium in the Qatari city of Al-Wakrah on December 11, 2021 (AFP)

Some familiar faces form the core of Tunisia's squad, including Ahly's indispensable left-back Ali Maaloul and Zamalek duo Hamza Matlouthi, a right-back, and striker Seifeddine Jaziri.

Tunisia's central midfielder Ferjani Sassi was also one of Zamalek's standout performers before he joined Qatari side Al-Duhail in the summer after his contract with the Cairo giants had expired.

"The players know the strength points of each other, and we want the details to be on our side," said Tunisia coach Mondher Kebaier.

The semi-final pits two traditional North African rivals against each other.

Their last meeting saw Egypt claim a 3-1 win in November 2018 in an African Cup of Nations qualifier.

"Tunisia team has a great history, and the current squad is an excellent one… I think the game will be difficult for both teams," Egypt's Portuguese coach Carlos Queiroz told the pre-match news conference.

"Both teams are excellent, and this will make this game an exciting one."

Egypt have doubts over the fitness of keeper Mohamed El-Shennawi, central defender Ahmed Hegazi, versatile defender Ayman Ashraf and defensive midfielder Hamdi Fathi.

The quartet have been complaining of different knocks in the tournament but have resumed full training ahead of the Tunisia clash, although Queiroz insisted he would not take any risks over their fitness.

"I won't pressure any of the injured players to play against Tunisia. We will only depend on the fully recovered ones," he added.

Algeria take on hosts Qatar in the other mouthwatering semi-final clash, which will take place later on Wednesday.

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