Bolton defender Radhi Jaidi rescued a point for Tunisia against with an
injury-time goal as their World Cup opener against Saudi Arabia finished in a
2-2 draw at Munich's Allianz Arena.
Jaidi headed home from close range three minutes into added time after Sami Al
Jaber looked to have given the Saudis the win with a well-placed effort six
minutes from time.
The game burst into life in the final 10 minutes after Zied Jaziri had given
Tunisia the lead in the 23rd minute and Yasser Al Kahtani equalised for the
Saudis 12 minutes after the restart.
With a draw looming, Al Jaber - who came on for Al Kahtani just two minutes
later - gave Saudi Arabia the lead as he put the finishing touch to a rapid
But Jaidi was to have the final word as the Saudi defence failed to clear the
ball in the dying seconds.
The draw was the least the Tunisians deserved after starting the game the
brighter of the two teams - and at the end of the opening period they were good
value for their lead.
With barely two minutes on the clock, Australian referee Mark Shield was
forced to turn down what looked like a legitimate penalty claim from the North
African side when Rehda Tuker upended Zied Jaziri.
Just six minutes later, Karim Haggui's downward header bounced high off the
turf before comfortably clearing the Saudi crossbar.
Saudi Arabia offered little threat to the Tunisian goal.
Former Asian Player of the Year Nawaf Al Temyat's shot was deflected wide for
a corner 14 minutes into the game while his Al Hilal team mate Yasser Al Kahtani
saw his header bounce weakly to safety.
However, France-based forward Jaziri gave Tunisia the lead with an acrobatic
scissor-kick from inside the penalty area in the 23rd minute after the Saudi
defence struggled to clear a lofted free-kick sent into the area by Adel
Central defender Redha Tukar came closest to putting the Saudis on the
scoreboard with eight minutes left in the half, but the Al Ittihad man's
well-struck free-kick was comfortably collected by Ali Boumnijel in the Tunisian
goal as he dived to his right.
Al Temyat then tried his luck from long range as the game entered the last
minute of the first half, but the Al Hilal midfielder's effort was wide of
Boumnijel's right post.
The second half saw the Saudis finally find their rhythm and Marcos Paqueta's
team could have been on level terms within two minutes of the restart.
Hamad Al Montashari played the ball from the back before Mohammad Noor
wrestled his way past the Tunisian defence, only to scuff his weak effort wide.
Ten minutes later, however, the three-time Asian champions were level thanks
to a lightning quick move down the right flank which dazzled the Tunisians.
Ahmed Dokhi's ball down the right flank was met by Noor and his first time
cross was rifled into the roof of the net by Al Kahtani.
The game looked to be heading for a draw when Paqueta introduced Al Jaber with
eight minutes to go for Al Kahtani - and the former Wolves man seared down the
left before firing beyond Boumnijel's left hand to put Saudi Arabia in front for
the first time in the game.
But the Saudi celebrations were to be short-lived as Jaidi capitalised on the
Saudi defence's inability to clear the ball and he headed home from inside the
six-yard box to give his team a share of the points.