|Youssef Msakni celebrates after firing Tunisia in front against Nigeria on Sunday night in their round of 16 AFCON encounter. (Photo credit: GOAL)
The Super Eagles of Nigeria crashed out of the Africa Cup of Nations on Sunday after losing 1-0 to the Carthage Eagles of Tunisia in a round of 16 encounter.
The Nigerian side were the clear favorites going into the
game having finished top of their Group D and won all three group games
including a 1-0 success over Egypt in their group opener while Tunisia
qualified by the skin of their teeth as one of the best third placed teams.
Tunisia had fears ahead of the game with notable names
missing due to covid and suspension but they cleared some ahead of kick off
after they returned negative results but captain Wahab Khazri could only start
from the bench.
Coach Austin Eguazoen of the Super Eagles restored his starting
eleven after resting some legs in the final group game against Guinea-Bissau
but the opening exchange didn’t reflect the rest some had or the difficult
tourney Tunisia were having with a cagey first half of few chances.
Youseff Msakni fired in from distance as early as two
minutes into the second half with the wicked swerve of the shot deceiving
Nigeria’s goalkeeper Maduka Okoye as his tame effort only helped the ball on to
Nigeria realized the urgency from there and threw everything
forward, Moses Simon was not at his imperial best but he was lively on the left
and could have gotten Nigeria back in the game shortly after but he blazed
It went from bad to worse for the three time African
champions when substitute Alex Iwobi was handed an early bath just few minutes
after coming on for Kelechi Iheanacho, a VAR review overturned an initial
yellow to red.
The Super Eagles gave it everything from there despite a
man short but that performance was their worst of the entire tournament but
they had chances to level the game in normal time with Umar Sadiq firing just
wide of mark with only the goalkeeper to beat after a neat pass from Wilfred