Al Jaber rues late Tunisian equaliser

June 14, 2006

MUNICH, June 14 (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia's record-breaking striker Sami Al Jaber struck what he thought was the winner before an injury-time Tunisian 2-2 equaliser on Wednesday but he insisted his team's World Cup hopes were still on track.

Al Jaber, who was struggling with a thigh injury before the match which threatened his participation in his fourth World Cup finals, was bitterly disappointed the Saudis had not taken all three points in Group H after his 84th minute goal.

'We were unlucky to let a goal in one minute before the end. Now we have one point. It is not the end of the competition for us. We have to work hard against Ukraine,' Al Jaber said.

'I am still recovering (from the thigh injury) and I will do everything possible to recover to be ready for that match.'

Saudi midfielder Mohammed Ameen added: 'Our second half performance will motivate us to play equally well against Ukraine.

'We are sure they will show another performance than they played against Spain today (losing 4-0).'

Tunisia were bitterly disappointed with their point from a match they were convinced they would win.

'We didn't recognise our team today,' said Tunisia midfielder Adel Chedli.

'It was a catastrophe. We never really found our rhythm. It was a pity because we led 1-0 at halftime and then we did some foolish things.

'What didn't work for us? Everything. On Monday we hope to be a different team aginst Spain. We definitely want to qualify and if it means we have to beat Ukraine in the last match then we will do everything to beat them.'

Tunisia captain Riadh Bouazizi said while they could have won the match, in the end the most important thing was not to lose it and keep qualification hopes alive.

'Could we have won it? Yes, but when you look at it we got a point, Ukraine have none and we are still competing to qualify,' Bouazizi said.

Goalkeeper Ali Boumnijel urged calm. 'We have to keep calm now. Will recover, watch our mistakes and not make them again against Spain,' said Boumnijel, who became the fifth oldest player to compete in a World Cup at the age of 40 years and 62 days.