Super Eagles manager Gernot Rohr has confirmed that Odion Ighalo suffered a knee injury during Nigeria’s 1-0 win over Tunisia in the third-place encounter between the two sides at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt.
Ighalo scored the only goal of the game to take his tally to five in the competition and put himself in a strong position to win the golden boot. However, his night came to an abrupt end after he limped off at half-time.
He did not resume the second half with Victor Osimhen coming in his place. The former Watford striker was believed to have suffered a hamstring injury, but Rohr has now confirmed it was a knee injury and will delay his return to his Chinese Super League club Shanghai Greenland Shenhua.
Speaking after the match, Rohr revealed the team was depressed with Ighalo’s injury but had to win the match for him. “We are depressed with Ighalo’s injury and we wanted to win the bronze medal to make him smile. It’s a knee injury, he was supposed to return to his Chinese club after today but he can’t now.”
In what was a game of few chances, Ighalo’s lucky opener was enough for the Super Eagles to maintain their 100 per cent record in AFCON third-place matches.
Rohr revealed he was delighted with the win following the team’s setback in the semi-final against Algeria. He praised the team’s mental strength to bounce back, while also expressed his delight at winning a first medal with an African team.
“I told my players that it would be better to end with a win than a loss. We were disappointed at not making the final but ending with a win is a good thing.”
“It’s my first medal in the AFCON and I’m happy with it. I have suffered some losses to Alain Griesse in the past so it is good to now win against him. I am happy that all 23 players played.”
“My team has shown great mental strength in this tourney. Our reaction to losing to Madagascar with wins over Cameroon & South Africa & today again after the loss to Algeria we showed great reaction. We have great technical commitment & we never give up.”