AL-WAKRAH: Australia prevailed over Tunisia to clinch 1-0 victory to bolster their chances of advancing into the knockout stage in the FIFA World Cup.
Lagging behind by a goal, Tunisia came in with great intent in the second half of the crucial group-D encounter at the Al-Janoub Stadium and found a corner in the 48th minute but failed to capitalize on it.
Tunisia players made repeated efforts to get an equalizer but the Australian defence held their nerve to not allow their box to be breached.
Even as they went all out, Tunisian players could not find the back of the net. The 30th-ranked team brought in fresh legs as substitutes to ramp up their attack but to no avail.
Australia also found counterattack opportunities as Tunisia focused on the equaliser but both teams were unable to score in the second half. This was 38th-ranked Australia's first victory in the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
The early minutes of the first half saw both teams losing possession relatively easily as they looked to settle down in a crucial group D clash. Australia launched the first attack from the left, but the cross from the flank was feeble to cause any threat.
Following that play, Aaron Frank Mooy was fouled, giving Australia the game's first free kick, which the Tunisian defence deflected effortlessly. Fans cheered as the stadium echoed with thunderous applause with the teams looking to maintain possession and dominate in the midfield.
The game picked pace as Tunisia made its first inroad into the Aussie box in the 21st minute but the Aussie defenders were quick to shut the attack out. Australia found success through Duke as the winger headed the ball into the net after the ball had rebounded off a Tunisia defender, giving the team a one-goal lead in the 23rd minute.
The goal saw the Tunisian defenders come alive as they looked to keep out the Aussie attack at all costs, sometimes resorting to rough tackles but the Aussie forwards had their tails up due to the lead and looked to score again.
Mohamed Drager took a shot at the goal in the 41st minute but the charge went begging as the Aussie defence blocked the kick. Australia were awarded a free-kick in the dying minutes of the game which also resulted in a corner but the Tunisian defence line was alert to evade it.