Debutants Tunisia played out to a barren draw with Burkina Faso in their Total Under-20 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) Group B opener staged at the Stade Cheikha Ould Boidiya in Nouakchott on Monday.
In a tight encounter, none of the two teams could get the ball inside the net as they started off the campaign with a point each.
Burkina Faso, playing in their fourth Under-20 tournament were the better team but they could not get the right ingredient to unlock a steady Tunisian backline that stood tall throughout the 90 minutes.
The affair was cagy and most of the contest was reduced to the middle of the pack where the Burkinabes bossed the possession but could not show much result for it.
Their closest opportunity at goal in the opening half was in the 20th minute through Joffrey Bazie who took on a curling effort from the right, but his attempt was way off target.
The tempo in the final third picked up in the second half with Tunisia threatening early, Hassan Ayari’s delivery with an inviting freekick from the right cleared away with Tunisian heads already rushing towards it.
Off a counter attack, the Tunisians had another chance in the 52nd minute when Abdallah Amri chipped a decent ball over the defence to a racing Nabil Makni, but the latter’s shot from the left easily rolled into the keeper’s gloves.
Towards the hour mark, Burkina Faso stepped up in attack as well and had some back to back chances. Daouda Beleme set up Nagoro Dao for a shot at the edge of the box, but the left back’s shot was awry.
A minute later, Tunisian keeper Elias Imed made a decent one-handed save, leaping to his left tp punch away a shot on the half volley from Bazie.
On the counter, Tunisia almost grabbed the lead when the ball was played out long to Hamdi Abidi, but the forward couldn’t muster a strong shot under pressure from Burkina Faso centre half Yacouba Djiga.
Each of the two sides piled in the pressure for a goal, but the final third action was always wanting as none could pick the right passes when it mattered most.