Tunisia creates the sensation! Strongly reduced by the Covid-19, with a dozen positive and absent players, and qualified only among the best 3rd after a disappointing group stage (2 defeats), the Carthage Eagles eliminated Nigeria (1-0) in 8th final of the CAN 2021 this Sunday in Garoua. A real feat in front of a stadium won over to the cause of the opponent, who came out of a perfect group stage (3 wins), during which he had made a strong impression.
As a warning, the first situation was Tunisian with a recovery from Talbi pushed back on the line by Ndidi! Nigeria retaliated with an overflow from Moses Simon, concluded by Aribo’s shot deflected for a corner by Ifa. On a cross from Chukwueze, Ifa then had to work to repel the danger just in front of Awoniyi. Sign that the Super Eagles released the greenhouses? Not at all. Exemplary of solidarity, discipline and courage, the men of Mondher Kebaier, absent from the bench due to suspension and Covid, managed to completely outwit unrecognizable Nigerians. To better sting them when they return from the locker room!
Captain and manager, Msakni indeed took matters into his own hands by eliminating Ndidi with a feint before unleashing a pure shot in front of the surface which bounced just in front of Okoye, trapped and who could only graze the ball (0-1 , 47e)! The Carthage Eagles scored the perfect shot, especially when the Senegalese referee Maguette N’Diaye, after recourse to the VAR, transformed the yellow card of Iwobi, freshly entered into the game, into a red card following his sole on Msakni (66th )!
Paradoxically, it was once reduced to ten that Augustine Eguavoen’s men proved to be the most dangerous and Simon took advantage of Dräger’s poor placement to find himself alone against Ben Saïd, who made a decisive save! On long shots, Sanusi then Ndidi caused new fears in the Tunisian camp but missed the target, while Sadiq did not take advantage of a disagreement between Ben Saïd and Ifa. Although on the brink of physical breakdown, Khazri’s teammates, qualified at the last moment and came into play, also had cartridges but Okoye relaxed perfectly on Sliti’s shot.
Nigeria had a big equalizer in the last minutes but Sadiq crossed his shot too much! It is the Tunisians who will play for their ticket to the semi-finals next Saturday against Burkina Faso ! For its part, Nigeria, qualified perhaps a little hastily as the new big favorite after the group stage, will have to quickly recover before facing Ghana in March in the play-offs of the 2022 World Cup, under the orders of his future coach José Peseiro, named before the competition.
The video summary of Nigeria-Tunisia
Nigeria : Okoye – Aina, Troost-Ekong, Omeruo, Sanusi – Ndidi, Aribo – Chukwueze, Iheanacho, Simon – Awoniyi.
Tunisia: Ben Saïd – Dräger, Ifa, Talbi, Haddadi – Laïdouni, Skhiri, Ben Slimane – Rafia, Jaziri, Msakni.