The Super Eagles impressive run at the African Cup of Nations came to an abrupt end following a disappointing loss to the Carthage Eagles of Tunisia on Sunday at the Roumde Adjia Stadium, Garoua.
Maduka Okoye’s blunder in response to a Youssef Msakni’s long-range strike from outside the box gave the North Africans a lead two minutes into the second half. The afternoon went from bad to worse for the Nigerians when Alex Iwobi got marching orders from the referee in the 66th minute.
Following an uninspiring display by the Super Eagles in the first half which ended goalless, all attempts to breach the Tunisian defence and restore parity in the second half were met with stiff resistance.
Despite missing seven players and their Coach due to COVID-19, Tunisians put up an impressive defensive display and snuffed out all attacking threats from the talented Nigerian wing duo of Moses Simon and Samuel Chukwueze.
Meanwhile, Burkina Faso booked its place in the quarter-finals of the tournament courtesy of a 7-6 victory over 10-man Gabon at the Limbe Stadium. An injury time own goal from Burkina Faso’s midfielder, Adama Guira, had forced the game into extra-time after they led 1-0 for a large part of the match.
Burkina Faso’s substitute Ismahila Ouédraogo scored the decisive penalty to end the shootout after seventeen previous attempts from both teams.
All is set for the rest of the round of 16 matches to be televised live on GOtv. Football lovers can tune in to watch the remaining eight teams battle for their place in the quarter finals.
Today, Monday 24 January, the scorpions of Gambia would seek to send its West African counterpart, the National Elephant, from Guinea back home at the Kouekong Stadium, Bafoussam when the match kicks off by 4pm. The Gambians have put an impressive display at the tournament so far and would be desperate to extend their unbeaten run at the tournament.
While host and five-time winners of the competition, the Indomitable Lions, Cameroon, would do well not to underestimate debutants, Comoros, after they shocked the world by claiming a surprise victory over the Black Stars of Ghana. The battle begins by 7pm at the Olembe Stadium.
The Championship continues on Tuesday when West African neighbours, Senegal and Cape Verde, would test strength against each other for a coveted slot in the quarter finals at the Kouekong Stadium, Bafoussam by 4pm. Edouard Mendy would be hoping to keep another clean sheet and consolidate his position as FIFA Goalkeeper of the Year.
While the Stade Ahmadou Ahidjo, Yaounde would play host to the match between 2004 finalists, the Lions of Atlas from Morocco and the Flames of Malawi. Having scooped two wins from three, the Moroccans would seek to get the better of the Malawian team which struggled to make the round of 16 slot.
On Wednesday, two of the tournament favourites, the Elephants of Ivory Coast and the Pharaohs of Egypt, would battle for a slot in the Quarter Final at the Japoma Stadium, Douala by 4pm. Seven-time champions, Egypt, would be hoping to make a statement for the continental prize after three uninspiring displays at the groups stages, while its opponent, The Elephants would be hoping to get the better of another North African opponent.
The round of 16 games wrap up with a match between Mali and Equatorial Guinea slated to hold at the Limbe Stadium, Limbe by 7pm. Although both teams secured two wins in their respective groups, Mali has remained unbeaten. The Eagles of Mali would be seeking to extend their unbeaten run in the competition.
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