The Super Eagles have been knocked out of the African Cup of Nations in Cameroon after a 1-0 loss at the hands of the Carthage Eagles of Tunisia.
Austin Eguavoen’s men who came to the knockouts flying high having picked nine points in the group stage were pipped by a lone goal by a Tunisian side that made the knockouts by virtue of being a best-loser.
The Super Eagles were shambolic in the first half of the game which ended goalless. The Tunisian side paid much attention to defense rather than attack as they tamed the Eagles’ threat from Taiwo Awoniyi, Moses Simon and Samuel Chukwueze.
Tunisia could have gone ahead with their only attack in the first half but Omeruo’s block prevented a ball clearly going in.
The three-time champions were pressured in the opening three minutes of the second half and paid the price having given Youssef Msakni the whole space in the world to drive and shoot from 25 yards out. His ball took a slight change in course but enough to beat Goalkeeper Maduka Okoye.
Nigeria’s woes were compounded when Alex Iwobi left his studs on Msakni while trying to win a ball. The Everton man was shown a Yellow initially but after watching replays from the VAR, the Referee brandished a red card.
Nigeria however with substitutes Peter Olayinka and Sadiq Umar looked to conjure an equalizer during the closing stages of the game. Sadiq had a brilliant chance to pull out something from his hat after he was played in by Olayinka but the Almeria man’s shot flashed across the goal with the keeper well beaten.
1-0 a Covid-hit Tunisian side sent a sub-par team Nigeria to the ‘trenches’ and all eyes will be set ln the World Cup qualifying Playoffs where Nigeria have been drawn to face Ghana.
Nigeria joins big names such as Ghana and Algeria as top nations in African football keep tumbling out of the continental showpiece early.
In the first Round-16 game earlier, Burkinafaso zoomed into the Quarterfinals after edging Gabon 7-6 on penalties following a goalless draw after 120 minutes of football.
The last time Tunisia edged Nigeria in the Afcon was in 2004 where they went on to win.