Nigeria Tops Tunisia 1-0 to Win 3rd Place at 2019 Africa Cup of Nations

Rob Blanchette@@_Rob_BFeatured ColumnistJuly 17, 2019

Nigeria's forward Odion Ighalo (2nd-R) dribbles past Tunisia's defender Nassim Hnid during the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (CAN) third place play-off football match between Tunisia and Nigeria at the Al Salam stadium in Cairo on July 17, 2019. (Photo by Giuseppe CACACE / AFP)        (Photo credit should read GIUSEPPE CACACE/AFP/Getty Images)

Nigeria defeated Tunisia 1-0 in the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations third-place play-off on Wednesday. 

The Super Eagles gave a cautious display, and the Eagles of Carthage had no answer in their attack.

In a match of few opportunities or moments of excitement, Odion Ighalo's third-minute goal separated the teams.

The Nigerians took the early lead after the Tunisian defence imploded in confusion during the opening attack.

CAF @CAF_Online

He pulled the rabbit out of the hat with this one 🎩 #TUNNGA #TotalAFCON2019 https://t.co/jKhN7QkrNZ

A mix up in the box allowed Ighalo to tap home from close range, with the striker scoring his fifth goal of the competition, reinforcing his place as the 2019 AFCON top scorer.

Sports journalist Okon Nya hailed the striker:

Ediye @iamOkon

Odion Ighalo and Rashidi Yekini are the only Nigerians to score 5 goals in a single Nations Cup tournament after his strike against Tunisia. #NGATUN #TUNNGR Legend! #AFCON2019 https://t.co/nvZzJ5reaF

Taha Yassine Khenissi almost grabbed an equaliser five minutes later, but the forward missed the target.

Tunisia established a foothold in the game, with Nigeria content to defend their slim advantage. The Eagles of Carthage attempted to exert pressure, but their opponents were comfortable at the back.

The second half followed a similar script, and the Tunisians appeared flat and lacking in confidence.

Tunisia goalkeeper Moez Ben Cherifia denied Samuel Chukwueze's effort to keep the score at 1-0, but the Super Eagles were playing within their capabilities.

Ellyes Skhiri's header almost levelled the game in the final moments, but Nigeria's Peter Etebo dramatically cleared off the line.

Nigeria continued to sit on their lead until the final whistle, and they collected the third-place accolade.