Tunisia managed to secure a spot in the quarter-finals by eliminating the title favourites.
Tunisia defeated ten-man Nigeria 1-0 in their Africa Cup of Nations last-16 tie on Sunday. The Eagles of Carthage pulled off a miracle despite having several key players out with COVID-19.
The Super Eagles stunned!
Nigeria won all three of their group-stage matches while establishing themselves as the main favourites to win the title. The situation was, however, completely different for the Eagles. Having qualified as Group F’s third team, Tunisia came into the match while having 12 Covid cases in their camp. They played without the services of a host of their regular starters, including captain Wahbi Khazri.
Tunisia showed they were looking to perform a smash-and-grab raid right from the start, and they managed to do it perfectly. Following a quiet first half, the Eagles clinched an opener two minutes into the second period.
Youssef Msakni’s low shot from behind the box skidded off the grass just in front of Maduka Okoye. The Nigeria goalkeeper got his gloves to the ball, before it ricocheted off his glove and into the top corner.
Nigeria started their efforts to score the equalizer as soon as they conceded the opener. However, a straight red card for Alex Iwobi pushed them one step closer to the disaster. An unnecessary challenge on Tunisia goalkeeper Bechir Ben Said persuaded the referee to send the Everton forward off only seven minutes after he came in.
Nigeria continued to attack fearlessly despite being a man down. But, Tunisia’s well-organized defence prevented them from coming back into the game.
The Eagles will face the winner of the tie between Burkina Faso and Gabon in the quarter-finals.
Nigeria: Okoye (5), Aina (7), Omeruo (6), Troost-Ekong (6), Zaidu (6), Ndidi (7), Aribo (7), Iheanacho (5), Simon (6), Chukwueze (6), Awoniyi (6).
Bench: Sadiq (6), Olayinka (6), Iwobi (4), Musa (5).
Tunisia: Ben Said (6), Drager (7), Haddadi (7), Skhiri (7), Ifa (6), Talbi (7), Slimane (6), Laidouni (7), Jaziri (6), Msakni (8), Rafia (6).
Match: Rekik (5), Jebali (6), Sliti (7), Khazri (6).
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