A preview of the AFCON 2019 third-place game between Nigeria and Tunisia on Wednesday.
‘Disappointment’ was the theme of Tuesday, July 16 press conference ahead of the third-place match of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) between Super Eagles of Nigeria and Carthage Eagles of Tunisia at the Al-Salam Stadium in Cairo.
Tunisia coach Alian Giresse spoke first; “It isn’t an ideal situation for us because we would have loved to play in the final but that is football.
“I have to try and motivate the players to win. There is some fatigue and we have barely trained, just some recovery exercises. We have to try and recover mentally.”
Coach of the Super Eagles of Nigeria Gernot Rohr later told the media; “the loss to Algeria was a big disappointment especially, as we lost in the last second.
Both coaches have every right to be disappointed in having to play the third-place match after losing out in the semi-finals.
Tunisia missed a good chance to take the lead against Senegal in the semi-finals from the penalty spot and lost the game in extra-time after conceding an own goal.
Tunisia conceded an own-goal against Senegal in the semi-finals
After a poor first half, Nigeria put up a fight and got a lifeline with a goal from the penalty spot which almost stretched the game to extra-time. The Super Eagles would have fancied their chances in extra-time against an Algerian side that were looking fatigued after playing 120 minutes of football in their quarterfinal clash win against Cote d’Ivoire. Riyad Mahrez, however, sprinkled his stardust with a last-minute goal from a freekick to send the Algerians through to the final.
Super Eagles of Nigeria conceded a late goal against Algeria in the semi-finals(CAF)
So here they are, Nigeria and Tunisia about to play in a game that nobody wished to be involved in but which now gives them the only chance to get relief from their semi-final disappointments.
With little changes expected in both sides’ starting XI, the game on Wednesday is a chance for both teams to stake a claim to being the third-best team in Africa and against Tunisia who have only won one game in 90 minutes at AFCON 2019, the Super Eagles will fancy their chances.
They also have history on their side with seven wins in seven appearances in AFCON third-place playoff. Tunisia have one win in three appearances including a 2- loss to Nigeria in Ghana 78. This result was handed to Nigeria as the game was abandoned at 1-1 following a controversy over Super Eagles’ goal.
In other AFCON meetings, Nigeria beat Tunisia in the group stage of Ghana/Nigeria 2000 but lost on penalties in the semi-finals of 2004.
In AFCON 2006, the Super Eagles beat the Carthage Eagles on penalties in the quarter-finals.