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Nigeria win AFCON 2019 bronze

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SUPER Eagles’ Odion Ighalo’s lone strike in the 3rd minute was all Nigeria needed to see off Catharge Eagles of Tunisia and clinch the third place at the ongoing African Cup of Nation. The goal by Ighalo is also the fastest goal so far in the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations.

Nigeria got off to a great start, claiming the lead in just the third minute. Left-back Jamilu Collins provided a low cross which goalkeeper Moez Ben Cherifa could only knock into the legs of defender Yassine Meriah – the loose ball fell kindly for Odion Ighalo, who poked it home from close range for his fifth goal of the tournament.

The Carthage Eagles responded well and would have gotten a quick equaliser had Ferjani Sassi’s header not been cleared off the line.

Both teams suffered injury blows just before the break, with the Carthage Eagles seeing winger Yassine Khenissi replaced by Firas Chaouat, while Nigeria’s Ighalo pulled a hamstring on the stroke of half time and was replaced by Victor Osimhen at the start of the second stanza.

Tunisia started brightly in the second half and Whabi Khazri’s superb through ball put Chaouat through on goal a minute after the restart. But with only the goalkeeper to beat, Tunisia’s substitute lashed into the side netting.

Thereafter Samuel Chukwueze’s long-range strike looked to be creeping in just after the hour, but Ben Cherifia made a superb save at full stretch.

The introduction of Samuel Kalu also gave Eagles the edge as he forced two saves from the goal keeper with his dead balls.

With the time tickling away, Ghilane Chaalali bundled himself into shooting range as full-time approached, though a weak effort wide of the upright was all he could muster as Tunisia ended their tournament without a medal.

The Super Eagles of Nigeria have never lost in a third place game in the history of AFCON.

The tournament will wrap up on Friday night with the final between Senegal and Algeria from the Cairo International Stadium.

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