Odion Ighalo scored the only goal last night as Nigeria beat Tunisia 1-0 in the third-place play-off at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations to claim the bronze medals of this edition in Cairo, Egypt.
The third place finish was a consolation for the three times champions who missed the last two editions of the African football showpiece back-to-back in 2015 and 2017.
The goal is Ighalo’s fifth that makes him the tournament’s leading scorer on five goals.
The Nigerian forward scored against Burundi in the opening match before his brace against Cameroon in the Last 16 stage. He also scored in the semi final clash with Algeria before capping his outing with the winner against Tunisia last night.
The former Watford striker yesterday tapped in after Tunisia keeper Moez Ben Cherifia deflected the ball off his own defender Yassine Meriah just three minutes into the losers final.
Nigeria’s coach, Gernot Rohr made two changes to his starting line up, preferring Francis Uzoho to Daniel Akpeyi while also swapping Chidozie Awazie for Ola Aina.
In a slow-paced game between the two losing semi-finalists inside the Al Salam Stadium in Cairo, Tunisia went close as Ferjani Sassi and Ghaylene Chaalali shot wide.
Three-time winners Nigeria have now finished third eight times. It was like that in Ethiopia in 1976 (against Guinea), Ghana in 1978 (against Tunisia), Senegal in 1992 (against Cameroon), Mali in 2002 (against Mali), Tunisia in 2004 (against Mali), Egypt in 2006 (against Senegal) and Angola in 2010 (against Algeria).
Tunisia, champions in 2004, needed a finger-tip save from Cherifia to deny Samuel Chukwueze in the second half and the keeper was called on again injury time to acrobatically save Samuel Kalu’s free-kick.
Ighalo however lipped off the pitch with hamstring with Victor Osimhen coming on board late into the game.
Senegal will look for their first AFCON title when they face 1990 winners face Algeria in Friday’s final.