A night to remember for Tunisia’s Drager

  • Mohamed Drager has played all of Tunisia's last three matches

  • Defender helped Carthage Eagles edge Egypt

  • Unforgettable night for Nottingham Forest player

“I had goosebumps when the Tunisian national anthem was played, and the motivation it generated lasted until the final whistle,” said Mohamed Drager in an interview with FIFA.com immediately after his side’s 1-0 win over Egypt in last night’s FIFA Arab Cup™ semi-final. With a big smile on his face, Drager looked extremely happy after the match, which was decided by a last-gasp own goal. The 25-year-old defender believes the win was well-deserved after Tunisia raised their level at the tournament. Speaking of those dramatic final moments, Drager said: "It was a great feeling and that's why we love football. We won from a free-kick in the last minute. It was unbelievable. "All along, we were determined to win. In all honesty, luck was on our side and things would have been different had Egypt exploited the two or three chances they created," he added. Despite that acknowledgement, Drager believes the Carthage Eagles dominated the game with an improved performance, which he believes is a positive sign. "We’ve got better game by game and gradually stepped up our performances, and that paid off today. We controlled the match, which is always a sign of a job well done. We didn't allow them much space and they only got chances through our mistakes," he said. "The match would not have been as exciting were it not for the mistakes from both sides," he added.

Fantastic return

Unable to join up with the squad ahead of the Arab Cup due to his club duties with Nottingham Forest, Drager missed the Carthage Eagles’ first two games here – against Mauritania and Syria. In fact, he only arrived in Doha on 5 December, one day before starting against UAE in the final match of Group B. Since his inclusion, Tunisia have registered three straight wins, with the right-back playing every minute. However, he does not accept that he alone was the catalyst for these victories. "I can’t say that I brought luck with me," he insisted. "I came here to help the team and things just went better for us. Our team put on great performance in the first group game, but there was a lot of talk about our defeat against Syria in the second. Since the third game, though, we’ve been back on track." After making the final, Drager and his team-mates turned their attention to the other semi-final to watch the dramatic victory of Algeria, their opponent in the tournament decider at Al Bayt Stadium next Saturday. “It’ll be 50-50 in the final because Algeria have had a great tournament and we’re a very good team as well,” he concluded. Having gained enormous confidence after Wednesday's match, Drager will certainly be hoping for a similar excitement when Tunisia takes on Algeria in the title decider at Al Bayt Stadium on Saturday.