Senegal have took control of Group B in the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations thanks to a 2-0 victory over Tunisia in Franceville on Sunday night.
With the group’s earlier game between Zimbabwe and Algeria ending in a 2-2 draw, the Teranga Lions have claimed top spot early on thanks to a victory secured by first-half goals from Sadio Mane and Kara Mbodj.
Tunisia had the first chance of the match when striker Ahmed Akaichi glanced a header just wide of the target from a set piece inside the opening five minutes.
The incident sparked a pattern of possession dominance for the North Africans, but in the 10th minute they went behind to a Sadio Mane penalty.
The spot kick was earned by Cheikhou Kouyate, who was brought down in the box by Aymen Abdennour. Mane coolly converted the penalty to put his side into a lead that was somewhat against the run of play.
The Carthage Eagles continued to see plenty of the ball, but on the half hour mark they went two goals down after Kara Mbodj got on the end of a corner kick and scored with a towering header into the bottom corner.
Tunisia started the second positively, sending on star attacker Wahbi Khazri from the bench moments before Ali Maaloul almost pulled a goal back with a free kick that flashed just over the top of the crossbar.
And the North Africans continued to create great chances for the likes of Akaichi and Youssef Msakni, while Senegal defender Mbodj almost scored an own goal in the 69th minute with a sliced clearance that hit his goalkeeper’s left-hand post.
That was as close as Tunisia came to a goal, with the North Africans left to reflect on a frustrating night which ended with them at the bottom of the log standings.
The teams will return to action with the second round of Group B matches on January 19: Algeria v Tunisia and Senegal v Zimbabwe.
Senegal 2 (Mane 10’ pen, Mbodj 30’)
Tunisia: Aymen Mathlouthi, Hamdi Nagguez, Ali Maaloul, Aymen Abdennour, Syam Ben Youssef, Larry Azouni (Wahbi Khazri 46’), Naim Sliti, Youssef Msakni, Ferjani Sassi, Hamza Lahmar, Ahmed Akaichi (Taha Yassine Khenissi 64’)
Senegal: Abdoulaye Diallo, Kara Mbodj, Cheikh M'Bengue, Lamine Gassama, Cheikhou Kouyate (Papakouli Diop 88’), Kalidou Koulibaly, Sadio Mane, Keita Baldé Diao (Ismaila Sarr 62’), Idrissa Gueye, Pape Alioune Ndiaye (Henri Saivet 72’), Mame Biram Diouf