Holders Tunisia recovered from an early scare to beat Zambia 4-1 at the African Nations Cup yesterday, thanks to a hat-trick from Francileudo dos Santos.

The Brazilian-born striker took up where he left off at the last tournament as the World Cup qualifiers outgunned their lightweight opponents in Group C.

Captain Riadh Bouazizi, playing in his sixth Nations Cup finals, steered home the other goal with a header from close range after a short corner eight minutes into the second half.

Zambia had surprised Tunisia with a ninth minute goal on the breakaway. The speedy James Chamanga got to the ball ahead of Tunisia's 39-year-old goalkeeper Ali Boumnijel and placed it into an empty net.

Dos Santos, whose four goals in the 2004 event helped Tunisia to a first-ever Nations Cup title, equalised in the 36th minute with a header after midfielder Adel Chedli pulled the ball back from the byline.

Bouazizi's goal put Tunisia ahead before Dos Santos added the last two in the final 10 minutes.

First he out-sprinted the Zambian defence to collect a long ball from midfield and steer it past keeper George Kolola in the 84th minute. He then completed his hat-trick, the second in successive days at the tournament, with a shot from a tight angle four minutes into stoppage time.

Guinea down S. Africa

In the other Group C match, two late goals gave Guinea a 2-0 win over South Africa in a dismal start to the African Nations Cup for the 2010 World Cup hosts.

A scrappy match in which Guinea looked more likely to score came to life in the 78th minute when Sambegou Bangoura bundled home a cross by fellow substitute Ibrahima Bangoura.

South Africa pushed forward but were caught out when another substitute, Ousmane Bangoura, thundered home Guinea's second in the 88th minute.

Today: (Group D) 4.15 p.m. Nigeria vs Ghana; 7 p.m. Zimbabwe vs Senegal.

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