10-man Super Eagles knocked out of AFCON by Tunisia

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Tunisia knocked Nigeria out of the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations after securing a 1-0 win in Sunday’s Round of 16 encounter.

Youssef Msakni scored the only goal at the Roumde Adjia Stadium in the 47th minute after a cagey first-half and the Super Eagles found it difficult to grab an equaliser.

Coach Austin Eguavoen opted for the XI that started the first two games against Egypt and Sudan, but they struggled to beat a solid Tunisia defence.

Nigeria came close to opening the scoring in the 12th minute, but Joe Aribo’s effort was deflected out by Bilel Ifa for a corner-kick and it turned out to be their best scoring opportunity in the first-half.

Eight minutes later, Iheanacho received the first yellow card of the encounter in the 20th minute after hitting Msakni’s face.

Unfortunately for the Super Eagles, they ended the first 45 minutes without a shot on target.

Immediately after the restart, Tunisia broke the deadlock through Msakni, who fired a low right-footed shot past goalkeeper Maduka Okoye after beating Ola Aina and Wilfred Ndidi.

Nigeria responded to the setback with the introduction of Alex Iwobi and Peter Olayinka for Iheanacho and Taiwo Awoniyi on the hour-mark.

However, things turned worse for Eguavoen’s side as Iwobi was given his marching orders for stepping on Msakni and a VAR check turned an initial yellow card to a straight red card.

Despite the numerical disadvantage, the Super Eagles kept pushing for an equaliser but it was a struggle for them to beat the Tunisia defence.

Second-half substitute Naim Sliti came close to doubling the Carthage Eagles’ lead in the 75th minute but his shot from outside the penalty area was well parried by Okoye.

Late in the game, Umar Sadiq connected with a through ball from Olayinka but his shot, after beating goalkeeper Bechir Ben Said, narrowly went off target.

Sunday’s result was Tunisia’s second win over Nigeria on the Afcon stage after they first defeated the West Africans in the semi-finals of the 2004 edition which they later won.

The Carthage Eagles will now face Burkina Faso, who defeated Gabon earlier on Sunday in the quarter-final on Saturday.

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