Forward Odion Ighalo scored within the opening three minutes to give Nigeria a 1-0 win over Tunisia in the third place match of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) in Egypt.
The Shanghai Shenhua star who was gunning for the tournament’s top scorer prize poked home him fifth goal of the tournament in the third minute of the game decided at the Al Salam Stadium in Cairo.
Both Nigeria’s Super Eagles and Tunisia’s Carthage Eagles suffered slim losses in their semi final games on Sunday and although their managers retained a core of their playing personell, both teams made use of their third choice goalkeepers for the tournament.
The game was however decided early on when Tunisian goalkeeper Moez Ben Cherifa parried out Jamilu Collins’ low cross with Ighalo showing his instinctive prowess to nick the ball home ahead of defender Yassine Meriah.
Nigeria, led this year by German coach Gernot Rohr claimed the third position for a record eighth time in the competition’s history.
The Eagles had finished third previously in 1976, 1978, 1992, 2002, 2004, 2006 and 2010.
Nigeria will on Thursday know their group stage opponents in the qualification series of the next edition of AFCON in 2021 when the draws are conducted at the Marriott Hotel Zamalek in Cairo.
Fisayo Dairo reporting from Cairo