|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 his net.
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 over.
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 Ndidi.