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All Whites draw, lose shootout to Tunisia

The All Whites have drawn with Tunisia in Cairo in the second match of their FIFA Series, before being defeated on penalties to finish fourth in the ACUD Cup.

Head coach Darren Bazeley made four changes to the side that was narrowly defeated by Egypt in the opening game of the tournament.

In defence, Tommy Smith earned his 52nd cap, replacing Nando Pijnaker at centre-back, while Reading’s 19-year-old defender Tyler Bindon replaced Dane Ingham at right-back.

In midfield, Wellington Phoenix captain Alex Rufer came in for Clayton Lewis and clubmate Kosta Barbarouses replaced Max Mata up front.

The All Whites started strongly against the world No 41 and had the ball in the net in the ninth minute. A clever free-kick created space for Liberato Cacace to fire in a long-range effort, his shot rebounded to Michael Boxall, who crossed for Barbarouses to score but it was ruled out for offside.

Minutes later, two further chances fell to the All Whites, with Tommy Smith going close from a corner and Callum McCowatt flashing a cross across the box but it could not find a black shirt.

The All Whites pressure continued to build in the 25th minute when Sarpreet Singh won and then took a free-kick from just outside the box to hit the side netting.

All Whites defender Liberato Cacace
All Whites left back Liberato Cacace in action against Tunisia. PHOTO: FOOTBALL TUNISIA

It was not until the 27th minute that Tunisia had their first real chance of the game with a ball cut back to Rafia but he fired wide past the post.

As the clock ticked past the half-hour mark, the All Whites had a golden opportunity to open their account after being awarded a penalty following Barbarbouses being fouled in the box. Sarpreet Singh stepped up to take the shot but it was well-saved by the Tunisian keeper.

Moments later, the All Whites were awarded a second penalty before VAR intervened to reverse the decision and keep it goalless at the break.

The second half continued how the first ended, with the All Whites dominating possession and creating the better of the chances.

In the 64th minute, it was another great chance for the All Whites after Singh’s flick found Matt Garbett close to goal but the Tunisia keeper again denied him. The chance caused a reaction from the African side, who responded with two opportunities of their own.

A 66th-minute Tunisian free-kick from the edge of the D looked dangerous but sailed over Max Crocombe’s net.

Two minutes later, Tunisia had another chance, with Kachrida firing wide after a rapid counter-attack. With it goalless after 90 minutes, the game ended in a draw but Tunisia claimed third at the tournament after converted all four of their spot kicks.

New Zealand 0 Tunisia 0. Tunisia won the penalty shootout 4-2


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