Tunisia Leads Romania 1-0 at Half
SAINT-DENIS, France (AP) _ Skander Souayah converted a 10th-minute penalty kick and Tunisia led an outplayed Romania 1-0 at halftime Friday night, a match that meant second-round seeding to the Europeans and only pride to the North Africans.
Souayah drove his chance into the lower left corner after Christian Dulca was whistled for dragging down Adel Sellimi.
Sellimi got the ball in the top corner of the penalty area, and pivoted inward to get between Dulca and Anton Dobos. Looking to recover, Dulca, whose arms were intertwined with the Tunisian forward, grabbed Sellimi around the left shoulder before he went down.
The goal came as Tunisia was by far the more dangerous team through the first 45 minutes. The game was only two minutes old before Mehdi Ben Slimane slalomed through the Romanian defense, forcing keeper Bogdan Stelea off his line for a sliding block.
Stelea was forced into several key saves, intercepting a low cross from Sellimi in the 19th and grabbing a volley by Kaies Ghodbane a minute later.
Romania’s best chance came in the 42nd minute when Marius Lacatus broke down the right side and crossed into an onrushing Ilie Dumitrescu.
Dumitrescu touched the ball over Tunisian keeper Chokri el Ouaer at the top of the penalty area but was falling away from the play and collided with the sliding keeper, who did not touch the ball. The Romanians pleaded for a penalty but Australian referee Edward Lennie gestured for Dumistrescu to get up.
Having already clinched a second-round berth, Romania was playing to win Group G and avoid a Tuesday meeting with Argentina in Saint-Etienne.
With two victories already, Romania needed only a draw with Tunisia to secure a Tuesday clash with Group H runner-up Croatia in Bordeaux.
Tunisia entered the match with two losses and had no chance of advancing regardless of the result.
After pledging to dye their hair if they won their group, the entire Romanian squad arrived with blond manes while coach Anghel Iordanescu shaved his head, but wore a white baseball cap to hide the evidence.
Romania: Bogdan Stelea; Dan Petrescu, Cristian Dulca, Anton Dobos, Liviu Ciobotariu; Constantin Galca, Dorinel Munteanu, Gheorghe Hagi, Lucian Marinescu; Ilie Dumitrescu, Marius Lacatus.
Tunisia: Chokri El Ouaer; Sami Trabelsi, Mounir Boukadida, Ferid Chouchane, Zoubaier Baya; Kaies Ghodbane, Riadh Bouazizi, Sirajeddine Chihi, Skander Souayah; Adel Sellimi, Mehdi Slimane Ben.
Referee: Edward Lennie, Australia.