Tunisia send Nigeria crashing out

African Football

Tunisia secured their spot in the Africa Cup of Nations quarter-finals after defeating Nigeria 1-0 on Sunday evening.

The Super Eagles brought back their big guns, most of whom were rested in their last group game, while Tunisia were without head coach Mondher Kebaier and a number of players due to Covid-19 but talisman Wahbi Khazri recovered to start on the bench.

Leicester City midfielder Wilfred Ndidi came close to getting a sensational opener for the Super Eagles in the 12th minute with an over-kick in the box that missed wide.

Nigeria's pressure receded after the half-hour mark, with Bilal Kadri's troops getting a breather to venture forward but they were limited to long range strikes that did not threaten goalkeeper Maduka Okoye.

Tunisia had a perfect start in the second stanza, as Youssef Msakni broke the deadlock two minutes from the restart with a low drive from outside the box that found the bottom corner.

The Super Eagles made a double change on the hour-mark, as Everton attacker Alex Iwobi replaced Leicester forward Kelechi Iheanacho while Peter Olayinka came on for Taiwo Awoniyi, both for fresh legs.

However, Nigeria were down to ten men five minutes later after Iwobi had a yellow card upgraded to red by the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) for a challenge on Msakni.

Moses Simon had a chance to level matters for Augustine Eguavoen's charges two minutes after that but had a shot in the six-yard box saved by shot-stopper Ben Said.

However, the Eagles of Carthage defended deep in the closing stages to hold on for a narrow win and set up a quarter-final tie against Burkina Faso.

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Burkina Faso became the first team to qualify for the Africa Cup of Nations quarter-finals with a 7-6 penalty shoot-out victory over Gabon on Sunday evening.

The Stallions started on the right note 13 minutes in as a tricky run out on the right by Issa Kabore led to the awarding of a penalty-kick, which Traore clattered against the woodwork.

Traore though made amends 15 minutes later when he ran onto a pass through the middle of the park to fire in off the foot of the post.

The Panthers had the Stallions on the edge through a looping shot by Anthony Oyono four minutes thereafter, but goalkeeper Jean-Noel Amonome leaned back to thwart.

It looked as Gabon had got themselves level through a smart finish from close-range in the area courtesy of Boupenza, but he was flagged for offside late in the half.

As the Panthers made a change after halftime in Louis Autchanga for Alex Mousounda, they watched Sidney Obissa earn a red card after committing a second bookable offence in the area.

While Burkina worked Amonome tirelessly, the Panthers levelled in the dying minutes when Adama Guira headed in from a corner-kick to force the match into extra-time.

Burkina went ahead again ten minutes inside extra-time through a first-time finish by Abdoul Tapsoba, but he was deemed offside.

The Stallions continued to bombard the goal of Amonome, who produced countless saves to keep amongst others Tapsoba at bay as  the clash went to a penalty shoot-out, as boths sides miss two spot-kicks, but the Panthers missed a third and allowed Zakaria Sanogo to fire in the winning strike for the Stallions.

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