Sunderland star Wahbi Khazri stars in Africa Cup of Nations in Tunisia 2 Algeria 1
Wahbi Khazri has made his first start at the Africa Cup of Nations - and helped his country move closer to the knock-out stages.
The Sunderland star made his mark as Tunisia boosted their chances of reaching the quarter-finals with a 2-1 derby win over neighbours Algeria.
Tunisia took the lead when Algeria’s Aissa Mandi directed Youssef Msakni’s left-wing cross into his own net.And some dreadful defending by Faouzi Ghoulam led to him bringing down Khazri for a penalty which Naim Sliti coolly slotted into the right corner.
Algeria pulled a goal back through Sofiane Hanni but the Reds’ victory takes them onto three points and into second place in Group B behind Senegal.
Tunisia went into the game off the back of a 2-0 defeat to Senegal and anything other than victory against Algeria would have left them in serious trouble.
It appeared that they could be making an exit in the pool stages which would bring Khazri back home early - either to boost boss David Moyes’s depleted squad or so he could be sold.
The 25-year-old, one of the stars of the Sam Allardyce great escape last season, has not started for the Black Cats since the home thumping by Arsenal at the end of October.
Allardyce paid £9million to Bordeaux for the Corscican-born attacker who paid back his fee in the fight for survival.
Much of Tunisia’s best work against Algeria involved Khazri, testing the keeper with a free-kick before winning the decisive penalty. It would appear his stay at the ACN might now be extended.