Tunisia took only 20 seconds to score the fastest goal in Women’s Africa Cup of Nations history and went on to record a handsome 4-1 win over 10-man Togo in the third of Sunday’s matches at the tournament in Morocco.
Mariem Houij chipped the goalkeeper before Togo even got to touch the ball in a perfect start for the north Africans, making their return to the finals for the first time since 2008.
The result puts Tunisia top of Group B after the goalless draw between Cameroon and Zambia earlier on in Casablanca.
It was a disastrous beginnng for rookies Togo in their first appearance and goalkeeping howlers dogged them throughout the game, although they did put up a spirited display.
Sabrine Ellouzi claimed two goals for Tunisia while Togo got their goal from the penalty spot through Odette Gnintegma.
Tunisia could not have asked for a better start, playing four passes from kick off before a long ball caught out the Togo defence and allowed Houij to run on and chip the hapless Togo goalkeeper Ame Lila Amouklou.
Tunisia were 2-0 up after 12 minutes with a free kick into the area hitting Anoukpou on the knee and popping up into the air where Ellouzi rose high to head home the ball.
But a clumsy challenge on Tayla Gace by Mamay earned Togo an 22nd minute penalty, although it took a referral to VAR before the Namibia referee Antsino Twanyanyukwa awarded the spotkick.
That sudden injected self belief into the Togo side and they could well have been level at the break but Afi Woedkikou missed a sitter when put through on goal.
Togo went down to 10 early in the second half when Ella Djonkale was sent off for tugging back on an opponent running free on goal. It was again a decision made only after a VAR check.
Tunisia went 3-1 up when Mamay’s freekick found an unmarked Ellouzi for a second headed goal as the Togo defence watched on and goalkeeper Amouklou was rooted to her line.
There was more hapless goalkeeping in the 71st minute when Houij was free on goal and toe poked a shot that Amouklou let slip, scurrying back to gather the ball before it went over the line but only succeeding in helping it over for a goal as her momentum carried her over the line. It was awarded as an own goal.
Tunisia will have much tougher ties against Zambia on Wednesday and Cameroon on Saturday. Togo take on Cameroon also in Casablanca on Wednesday.
*Courtesy: Mzansi Football