Tunisia were gifted a 1-0 win in the first leg of their 2022 World Cup play-off by hosts Mali as 21-year Moussa Sissako suffered a day to forget in Bamako.
Winning only his fourth cap, the unfortunate defender scored the only goal of the game as he unwittingly found his own net from outside the box in the 36th minute.
Things got worse for Sissako just four minutes later when he was shown a straight red card for a foul on the edge of the area, so also ruling him out of Tuesday's second leg.
Despite playing the whole of the second-half with ten men, Mali - seeking a first World Cup appearance - created the better chances but could not find their way past a stubborn Tunisian defence.
Tunisia started the game strongly and put pressure on the hosts early on, with the Eagles needing more than twenty minutes to find their pace and start causing the Carthage Eagles any real threat.
Their rhythm was shattered when Sissako, who plays in Belgium for Standard Liege, received the ball on the edge of the area under no pressure and managed to make his back pass too strong and too wide of goalkeeper Ibrahim Mounkoro.
He buried his heads in his hands but matters swiftly deteriorated when Sissako was sent off four minutes later as he raced after Saifeddine Jaziri and clumsily clipped him from behind with the referee deciding a goal scoring opportunity had been denied.
Despite being a man down, a resolute Mali created by far the better chances after the break but the Tunisian defence hung on for a crucial away win.
It was revenge for Tunisia who lost 1-0 to Mali at the recent Africa Cup of Nations in controversial circumstances, when Zambian referee Janny Sikazwe signalled for full-time on 85 minutes, before then ending the match before the clock showed 90 minutes.
Aiming for a second consecutive appearance the World Cup, Tunisia will host Mali, who will be without the suspended Sissako for the game in Rades, in the return leg on Tuesday.