On another fine night for the Super Eagles at the Africa Cup of Nations, Nigeria brush off Tunisia to claim the bronze medal yet again.
Odion Ighalo scored a pure poacher’s goal – his fifth of the campaign – in the first few minutes of play and it proved enough to send the North Africans home empty handed.
Soccernet x-rays five takeaways from an exciting game of football.
Ighalo Is Africa’s Top Marksman
5 goals in as many starts at Africa’s premier competition has only added more credits to Odion Ighalo’s bourgeoning reputation.
Odion Ighalo has scored five goals at #AFCON2019.
— Soar Super Eagles (@SSE_NGA) July 17, 2019
The Shanghai Shenhua forward clearly topped the goalscorers chart during the qualifying rounds.
If there were any beer parlour murmurings that those standout performances were flukes, the former Watford striker have permanently put those to rest.
In a tournament that boasts the distinguished talents of Algeria’s Riyad Mahrez, Egypt’s Mo Salah, Ghana’s Andre Ayew, Tunisia’s Wabhi Kazhri, Ivory Coast’s Wilfried Zaha, and numerous others, to emerge as the finest in sticking the ball into the back of the net is no mean feat.
Strong, tireless, and still only 26, the best of the burly targetman is yet to come.
Uzoho Is Better Than That Carpenter
No where under God’s blue heavens is Daniel Akpeyi better than Francis Uzoho as a goalkeeper. The youngster brought serenity and composure back to the defence.
So why didn't Uzoho keep for us in the Semi final match with Algeria?
— Nedu Ekeke #BBOG (@Nedunaija) July 17, 2019
There was hardly any on-the-edge, nerve-wrecking moment between the defenders and the goalie.
The young goaltender commanded his box well, handled the ball confidently, and did his bits without any unnecessary drama.
His shot stopping ability is still not top level and his distribution still begs much to be desired. But he is already a thousand miles ahead of Akpeyi.
Musa has pace and …that’s all
The Nigerian Usain Bolt is so frustrating to watch most of the time.
His fast legs should be an asset to the team but his lack of a commensurate football brain has cost the Super Eagles more scoring chances than can be listed.
It’s instructive that on Nigeria’s finest attacking night, the Super Eagles most effective attacker on the left-wing was a certain full-back, Jamilu Collins.
Against the Tunisians, the speed merchant was at his wasteful best.
There are better players than Musa on the Nigerian bench but Rohr feels he owes the Al Nassr winger a regular starting shirt by virtue of being the team’s vice captain and especially in the absence of the side’s substantive captain.
One assist and zero goals is a poor return even for Musa’s mediocre standard.
He has had a poor tournament and even a third place finish for the team can’t gloss over his inadequacy.
The Super Eagles played better with Gernot Rohr’s handbrake off
What a night of attacking football. It almost didn’t look like the same team that was clay-footed, lethargic and unsure of team-play on Sunday night against Algeria.
When you feel bad winning the bronze, remember Egypt that hosted #AFCON2019 and has Muhammed Sallah but didn't get to the semi-finals.
— Alfred Olufemi⏺️ (@iam_alfred1) July 17, 2019
This was different. The full-backs were flying forward at every opportunity.
The attack line press up field. And the midfield was full of runners.
It was a bit of a surprise when Jamilu Collins sprung up in the opponent’s half and provided the assist within the first ten minutes.
It however provided the template for the rest of the match.
Ola Aina bombing forward was one of the heartwarming sights of the night.
Nigeria are the gods of the bronze medals
Really proud of the boys 💪 🇳🇬🦅
— Israel Ilori 🇳🇬🇮🇱 (@theisraelilori) July 17, 2019
The NFF’s trophy cabinet officially has more bronze than gold medals and yet again we have added another.
Rarely does the Super Eagles lose a third place playoffs.
Irrespective of the opponent faced, we have always outsmarted them. Mali, Senegal, Ghana and Tunisia have all been beaten at this stage.
It is not as good as winning the AFCON title, no doubt.
It’s however way better winning a third place playoffs than losing a title decider.
Goodluck to both Senegal and Algeria on Friday.