All Betting Tips

Mali vs Tunisia betting tips: African World Cup play-off first leg preview, predictions and odds

These two met just 72 days ago at AFCON with Mali winning 1-0 in a controversial game that saw the full time whistle prematurely blown twice. Just three of Tunisia's last 20 games have seen both teams to score.

Under 2.5 goals is 4/11.

Both teams to score NO and under 2.5 goals is 4/6.

Mali to win and both teams to score NO is 15/8. 

Match preview

Will Tunisia make it back-to-back World Cup qualifications?

The Eagles of Carthage's appearance at Russia 2018 means they've now qualified for five World Cups to date and they remain on track to make that six.

So far in this campaign, Tunisia have won four of six matches, topping Group B above Equatorial Guinea, Zambia and Mauritania.

Since, they've reached the quarter-finals of the Africa Cup of Nations, beating Nigeria in a big shock before bowing out to Burkina Faso.

Overall, 22 of Tunisia's last 39 competitive games have witnessed two goals or less so, if they are to get through, it's likely to be by fine margins.

Will Jalel Kadri's team claim a first leg advantage in Bàmakɔ̌?

Mali meanwhile are aiming to make history by qualifying for a World Cup Finals for the very first time at the sixth attempt.

To get this far, the Eagles went unbeaten through the group stage, winning five of six matches, overcoming Uganda, Kenya and Rwanda.

Mohamed Magassouba's side then reached the round of 16 at AFCON in January, exiting to Equatorial Guinea on penalties.

Now, Mali are looking for their excellent form to carry them all the way to a maiden World Cup.

Will there be a winner at Stade du 26 Mars?

Mali team news

The host's main goal threat is likely to be Adama Malouda Traoré, who'll be looking to add to his eight international goals.

Traoré scored seven times in UEFA club competition this season, helping FC Sheriff beat Real Madrid and reach the Europa League knockout phase.

Meanwhile, his namesake, Adama Noss Traoré, as well as Moussa Marega and Sékou Koïta have been left out the squad for this huge play-off.

What Mali do have is an abundance of midfield talent which has only been added to just last month.

Everton's Abdoulaye Doucouré could make his senior international debut after switching allegiance from France in time for this tie.

He'll surely start with two of Yves Bissouma, Amadou Haidara, Lassana Coulibaly, Diadie Samassékou or Mohamed Camara alongside.

This emphasises that Mali are absolutely stacked when it comes to midfield options.

Will this be enough to secure a first leg win for Mohamed Magassouba's team?

Tunisia team news

Tunisia's main man is Wahbi Khazri; the former Sunderland winger, now of Saint-Étienne, will be aiming to add to his 24 international goals.

Captain Youssef Msakni and Naïm Sliti are also both into double figures in terms of goals and could complete the front three.

19 year old Hannibal Mejbri of Manchester United could add to his 11 senior caps, mainly won at the recent Arab Cup and AFCON tournaments.

Experienced midfielder Ferjani Sassi scored a penalty against England at the last World Cup and will be hoping to lead his country back to this year's edition.

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Ben Gray

Ben Gray

Arsenal fan – follow them over land and sea (and Leicester); sofa Celtic supporter; a bit of a football '"encyclopedia".

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