By Durosimi Thomas
Tunisia 2-1 Rwanda
Dos Santos celebrates his winning goal
Brazilian-born Francileudo Dos Santos gave hosts Tunisia victory in the opening game of the Cup of Nations, as both sides were reduced to 10 men.
Dos Santos poked home a free-kick to put his side ahead, after Ziad Jaziri opened the scoring in the first half.
Joao Elias drew Rwanda level with a superb curling free-kick soon after.
But with both Group A sides down to 10 men in the second half, it was the hosts who made the most of the situation.
Jaziri scored the opener in the 27th minute from a quickly taken short free-kick tapped in by Paris Saint Germain's Slim Benachour.
Jaziri's powerful blast hit the roof of the net from close range.
But Tunisia barely had time to celebrate before Elias drew newcomers Rwanda level.
The Belgium-based player stepped up after Eric Nshimiyimana was fouled just outside the box.
He sent the resulting free-kick curling into the right hand top corner, giving the Tunisian goalkeeper no chance.
Rwanda looked lively as the second half resumed but with just 11 minutes gone, Abdul Sibomana was sent off for a second bookable offence.
Tunisia's Brazilian-born striker Dos Santos was quick to capitalise, poking home the resulting free-kick which was delivered into the six-yard box by Benachour.
But Benachour turned villain just two minutes later, receiving his marching orders for diving in the box - his second bookable offence.
Both Dos Santos, who switched nationalities after a new Fifa ruling, and Jaziri continued to threaten in the closing stages of the match but could not increase the hosts' lead.
Tunisia: 1-Ali Boumnijel; 2-Khaled Badra, 3-Karim Hagui,
15-Radhi Jaidi, 19-Anis Ayari; 8-Mehdi Nafti, 12-Jaohar Mnari
(6-Hatem Trabelsi 86), 14-Adel Chedli (13-Riadh Bouazizi 68),
18-Slim Benachour; 11-Francileudo dos Santos, 5-Ziad Jaziri
(17-Mohamed Jedidi 82)
Rwanda: 18-Ramadhani Nkunzingoma; 3-Hamad Ndikumana,
7-Canesius Bizimana, 5-Leandre Bizagwira, 4-Abdul Sibomana,
13-Elias Ntaganda; 9-Joao Elias, 16-Eric Nshimiyimana, 14-Said
Abed Makasi (17-Jean Lomani 69), 15-Desire Mbonabucya (10-Jimmy
Gatete 69), 11-Olivier Karekezi
Referee: Evehe Divine (Cameroon)