Nigeria’s Super Eagles will be aiming to finish the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations on a high when they face the Carthage Eagles of Tunisia in the third-place match on Wednesday.
The three-time Africa champions lost 2-1 in the semi-final clash against Algeria on Sunday courtesy a Riyad Mahrez’s freekick in the 93rd minute, while Tunisia couldn’t scale through Senegal after a narrow 1-0 defeat.
Eagles have already won bronze seven times before, three more than Ivory Coast in second place with four.
The Super Eagles are the country with the most third-place wins at the Africa Cup of Nations. If they defeat Tunisia on Wednesday, they will extend the record to eight wins.
The Super Eagles have not been at their best at the Africa Cup of Nations. They finished as runners-up in Group B behind surprise package Madagascar and then came through tough tests against Cameroon and South Africa.
The team has plenty of talent with players such as Arsenal’s Alex Iwobi and Villarreal winger Samuel Chukwueze, and their extra quality in attack should give them the edge over Tunisia.
Head to Head Record
These two sides tend to find it hard to cancel each other out; pretty much all of the time. Nigeria beat Tunisia 4-2 back in January 2000, but since then neither side has claimed a victory in normal or extra time.
With penalties being the only way to separate the pair over the past 19 years, it could well be another close game on Wednesday night.
Both sides boast a relatively clean bill of health ahead of Wednesday evening’s third-place clash.
The only slight concern for the Carthage Eagles is attacker Youssef Msakni, who was replaced at half-time in their defeat to Senegal. However, he should be fit to start for Tunisia on Wednesday.
Super Eagles technical adviser, Gernot Rohr has revealed that the team would draw lessons after the third-place game against Tunisia.
“We will draw lessons after the third-place match. We have a very young team, we’re making progress and perhaps we lacked a bit of clear-sightedness (against Algeria) but we’re moving forward,” Rohr said.
“We have to work much more. Our midfield is the youngest one. (Wilfred) Ndidi, (Alex) Iwobi and (Peter) Etebo have to learn tactically and they have to make better communication, but I think with time they’ll be very good.”
Tunisia Mouez, Bronn, Meriah, Hadadi, Khazri; Sassi, Lamti, Skhiri; B Mohamed, Msakni, Khenissi.
Nigeria Akpeyi, Ekong, Omeruo, Awaziem, Collins; Kalu, Musa, Etebo; Chukwueze, Onyekuru; Ighalo.
It would have been easy to predict that the Super Eagles will defeat the Carthage Eagles judging by history. However, the tie seems poised for a win or draw under 4.5 for Nigeria.
Past Matches: Tunisia – Nigeria
16.03.1978 Accra (Third place) Nigeria 1-1 (awarded 2-0) Tunisia
23.01.2000 Lagos (Group stage) Nigeria 4-2 Tunisia
11.02.2004 Rades (Semifinal) Tunisia 1-1 (5-3 on penalties) Nigeria
04.02.2006 Port Said (Quarterfinal) Nigeria 1-1 (6-5 on penalties) Tunisia