A third minute instinctive goal from Super Eagles striker and CAF Nations Cup top scorer Odion Ighalo was all it took for the Nigerian team to win its 8th Bronze trophy and 3rd position at AFCON at the expense of Tunisia. Here is how it happen blow by blow. READ BOTTOM UP
FULL TIME: Tunisia 0-1 Nigeria
YELLOW CARDRAMI BEDOUITUNISIA
Bedoui was shown a yellow card a few moments ago. This match is now petering out.
Nigeria have done just enough to win this game. Tunisia have been toothless. They have seen plenty of the ball and yet they have done so little with it. Khazri has been the exception.
Great freekick effort! That would have been some way for Kalu to introduce himself to this game! He takes a freekick within seconds of coming off the bench and forces the diving save!
Five minutes of stoppage time to be played at the end of the match.
OFF SAMUEL CHUKWUEZE NIGERIA
ON SAMUEL KALU NIGERIA
A change for Nigeria and Chukwueze comes off for Kalu.
Time is running out for Tunisia if they are to find an equaliser. Worth keeping in mind that if this match ends in a draw we will go straight to a penalty shootout. No extra time here.
Off the line! The whistle blew so it wouldn’t have counted anyway, but Skhiri had a header cleared off the line by Etebo. There was a push from the Tunisian midfielder, though.
Early on, it seemed that Tunisia might be blown away. That Nigeria might produce the attacking demonstration many wanted from them earlier in the tournament. That didn’t happen.
This has been a great tournament and we still have the showpiece event to come on Friday night, but this match has been something of a disappointment. Never burst into life.
This match has made for a great case study in why third place playoff games should be scrapped.
Injury! It looks like Omeruo will be replaced late on in this match. The Nigerian defender seemed to twist his ankle in a tackle. Indeed, Nigeria are now getting the change ready.
Nigeria are cruising to full time now. They have been well below their best, but Tunisia have posed scant threat. They haven’t really looked that likely to grab an equaliser.
I think these two sets of players might already be on their holidays. There’s also the fatigue factor to consider. It has been a long, long season for a lot of these players.
Good run! Khazri drives past two Nigerian defenders and gets to the byline. He gets his head up and plays the low ball into the middle, but there were no takers in a red shit. Sigh.
Might Tunisia try something different in these final 10 minutes of the match? They have become predictable and Nigeria are finding it easy to hold them comfortably at arm’s length.
Tunisia are camped in the Nigerian half for the time being, but once again they look toothless in attack. They just don’t have the options ahead of them to harm Nigeria.
A shot! Chaaleli gets the effort away 20 yards out after having to wrestle to create the space. But he completely scuffs his effort and the goalkeeper can watch the ball dribble wide.
OFF AHMED MUSA NIGERIA
ON MOSES SIMON NIGERIA
Musa comes off for Nigeria and he is replaced by Simon for the last 15 minutes.
Can Tunisia muster the one opportunity they’ve been waiting all game for? They fell behind in the opening three minutes and have struggled to test Uzoho since then.
Penalty claim! Chaaleli believes that he should have been awarded a penalty kick after going down in the area, but the replays show that there was very little, if any, contact in that incident.
Tunisia make another change with Hnid coming off for the final 20 minutes.
Khazri is the one player who looks willing to try and make something happen for Tunisia. He has looked threatening, but even Khazri has lacked the necessary cutting edge in front of goal.
It’s admirable that Tunisia continue to play in this way, but at some point they need to test Ozoho in the Nigerian goal with some shots. They just haven’t done anything to test him.
Uzoho hasn’t had a lot to do this evening. Tunisia have threatened to equalise at various points of the match, but they have struggled to actually get shots away on the Nigerian goal.
This hasn’t been the best of matches. Third place playoff games tend to be like this. Both teams want to win, but the edge that has been on show through the tournament is gone.
YELLOW CARDGHAYLEN CHAALELITUNISIA
Another booking. This time it’s Chaaleli who is shown the yellow card.
Good save! That’s a good save from Ben Cherifa. Chukwueze took the shot from the edge of the Tunisian penalty box, his effort was a good one, but the goalkeeper tipped it around the post.
Tunisia started the second half as the better of the two teams, but Nigeria have taken a grip of things again and are coasting to winning this third place playoff game. Not a classic.
Will Tunisia step things up in the last 30 minutes of this match? They finally seem to have recognised the need to get shots on target to actually test the Nigerian goalkeeper.
PICTURE: Ighalo’s goal is still the difference.
- OFF ANICE BADRI TUNISIA
ON NAÏM SLITI TUNISIA
A change for Tunisia and it’s Badri who comes off for the team trailing behind.
This match started off at a good pace and intensity, but over time it has slumped into the sort of contest you’d expect from a third place playoff game. Why do they play these matches?
This hasn’t been good enough from Iwobi so far. The Arsenal wide man has the quality to cause real problems for Tunisia, but quite frankly he doesn’t even look that interested.
Handball? Tunisia win a freekick on the edge of the box with Khazri shooting straight into the wall. The Tunisian players want a handball, but there didn’t look to be anything in that.
On the balance of play, Nigeria have had more of the ball and, of course, they have the lead. But in terms of chances, Tunisia have probably been the better of the two teams.
Chance! Khazri played a wonderful through ball for Chaouat, but the striker can’t put the ball on target with his weaker foot. Uzoho was quick off his line to close down the angle.
Khazri has been impressive for Tunisia. He has been the one controlling things for them in the attacking third even if he has been lacking cutting edge to his play. He has threatened.
PICTURE: Can Tunisia find a way back?
Nigeria need to find a way to involve the likes of Chukwueze and Iwobi more in the final third of the pitch. They have the quality to really put Tunisia to the sword in this second half.
- 2ND HALF
The second half is under way! Nigeria have a 1-0 lead over Tunisia in this AFCON third place playoff game.
What did you make of the first half? Can Tunisia fight back? Do you want to see more attacking intent from the two teams? What has been lacking from the game so far?
- END OF 1ST HALF
HALF TIME: Tunisia 0-1 Nigeria. Ighalo’s early goal is the difference between the two teams at the break, but Tunisia have managed to steady themselves after a shaky start. Poor match.
OFF TAHA KHENISSI TUNISIA
ON FIRAS CHAOUAT TUNISIA
There’s the change for Tunisia and it’s the injured Khenissi who comes off.
Tunisia will be so frustrated that they allowed their concentration to lapse in the first few minutes of this match because besides that moment they have actually held their own quite well.
This has been a very quiet first half from Chukwueze. Nigeria have played a lot on the wings, but the youngster has seen very little of the ball. He can make a real impact on any game.
There’s a break in the play while Khenissi hobbles off the pitch and while Tunisia get their substitution ready. This will be added on to the end of the first half.
Injury! This could be the end of Khenissi’s tournament. He is down on the ground and seems to be in some discomfort. Indeed, it seems that Tunisia might be about to make a change.
PICTURE: Ighalo scored the opener within three minutes.
It has been quiet an open game so far, but that doesn’t mean there has been an abundance of opportunities created. Both teams are struggling in the final third of the pitch.
Iwobi has been rather quiet in this first half. He hasn’t had an opportunity to stretch his legs and get in behind the Tunisian defence. The Arsenal man needs to involve himself more.
Nigeria are starting to wise up to the threat being posed by Khazri. When he last received the ball he found himself surrounded by about three opposition players. Yikes.
Drager touched the ball with his arm as he attempted to control it on his chest. This is freekick opportunity for Nigeria to get the ball into the box, but the delivery was too close to the keeper.
Khazri has been lively in the last 15 minutes or so. If Tunisia are to find a way back into this match you get the feeling that it will, in some way shape or form, be through him.
Apologies for the break in updates from this game. Experiencing some technical issues on our end. Yes, we have now locked up the gremlins and they shouldn’t be back again.
Ndidi is on a yellow card so maybe Tunisia feel emboldened in facing up to the Leicester City midfielder. He is now on thin ice for the rest of the match.
Tunisia seem to have taken a grip of the game in terms of possession and they are having more joy in opening up space in the final third of the pitch as well.
Into the wall! That was an opportunity for Khazri to get a shot on target, but his freekick from 20 yards out clips the top of the Nigerian wall and spins over the crossbar for a corner kick.
- YELLOW CARDWILFRED NDIDINIGERIA
There’s the first yellow card of the night and it’s shown to Ndidi.
Tunisia are finding it difficult to get the better of Ndidi in the centre of the pitch. That is understandable. The Nigerian midfielder covers so much ground. Tough to get past.
This is better from Tunisia. They are showing better composure in the final third of the pitch and have steadied themselves after losing that opening goal so early in the match.
The strange thing about the opening 15 minutes of this match is that while Tunisia have been second best in terms of their share of the ball, they have created a handful of half chances.
He had time! Khazri set up Skhiri for the effort on goal. The midfielder’s touch was a good one and set him up nicely for the shot, but he curls a right-footed strike wide of the target.
Losing that opening goal was the worst possible start for Tunisia. A defensive lapse cost them in the semi finals and if it stays this way until full time it will cost them in this match too.
It’s all a little bit scrappy in the centre of the pitch, but Nigeria are doing a better job of being first to the second balls. They are on top at the moment after that early opener.
GAME ON NIG 1 – TUN 0
Wide of the near post! That was an opportunity for Khenissi, who was played into the channel inside the Nigerian penalty area. But he sticks his low effort wide of the near post.
Nigeria are on top in the early stages of this match. The early goal has set them on their way. Tunisia, on the other hand, are struggling to keep hold of the ball in the opening minutes.
That was a chance for Khazri to at least trouble Uzoho in the Nigerian goal, but the freekick from the Tunisian on the left side of the opposition box was pretty poor in the end.
The problem for Nigeria at this tournament has been their lack of cutting edge. Of course, it helps when the opposition gifts them goals like that. Dreadful defending from Tunisia.
GOAL ODION IGHALO NIGERIA
GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOAL! Tunisia 0 Nigeria 1 (3 mins – Odion Ighalo). Oh dear! It’s another goalkeeping disaster for Tunisia. This happened in the semi final as well. The cross from Collins down the left should have been easy for Ben Cherifa to gather, but he palmed the ball into Meriah and that allowed Ighalo the easy finish.
These third place playoff games at major tournaments can be a bit disappointing, but the lineups are strong from both sides so there is a suggestion that they will take this seriously.
- 1ST HALF
The match is under way! It’s Tunisia against Nigeria in the third place playoff of the 2019 AFCON.