Nigeria crashed out of the 2016 African Nations Championship on Tuesday, as they lost 1-0 to Guinea in their final group game in Rwanda.
An Ibrahima Sory Sankhon goal just before half-time proved to be the difference between the two sides, as Nigeria simply could not find the necessary equaliser in the second half.
As a result, Guinea qualify to the quarter-finals from Group C, second to Tunisia, after they claimed top spot with a 5-0 drubbing of Niger, per CAF:
Here is the remaining schedule for the group stage:
|Jan. 27||2 p.m. / 9 a.m.||D||Zambia vs. Mali|
|Jan. 27||2 p.m. / 9 a.m.||D||Uganda vs. Zimbabwe|
Nigeria topped Group C heading into the final round of matches, with the Super Eagles on four points after two games—ahead of Tunisia and Guinea (two) and Niger (one).
Only a draw was needed against Guinea in order for Nigeria to qualify, but from the off, it looked as though they were in for a tough day.
Guinea dominated the early stages, and after stout resistance from the Nigeria defence, they got their reward as Sankhon opened the scoring in the dying moments of the half.
The midfielder managed to ghost in between three defenders and turned home a routine cross from the right to put his side 1-0 ahead.
As noted by Nigerian football writer Colin Udoh, the Super Eagles had not been good enough in the first half and needed to improve if they were to qualify:
However, despite an improvement in the second half, they could not capitalise, as Guinea understandably sat back to preserve their lead.
Even the introduction of star striker Chisom Chikatara could do nothing for Nigeria to find the goal they needed, and they eventually fell to an ignominious early exit at the group stage, with Guinea going through in their place.
Tunisia had a far easier time of things against Niger, as they cruised to the convincing victory they needed to top the group.
Saad Bguir's first-half double effectively wrapped up the three points and qualification after 39 minutes.
But the Carthage Eagles really pushed their advantage home after the break. Given plenty of room to manoeuvre behind the Niger defence with their opponents haring forward in the hopes of pulling off an unlikely comeback, Tunisia made hay.
They played their way into the second half before Ahmed Akaichi made it 3-0 with 12 minutes to go, outmuscling the defender and the goalkeeper to claim the ball and cooly put the game to bed.
Three minutes later, Mohamed Ben Amor made it 4-0, as he side-footed home a corner from the edge of the box, per African football writer Lotfi Wada:
Substitute Hichem Essifi iced the game in stoppage time to see Tunisia march on through to the knockout stage in impressive fashion.