2021 AFCON Rof 16: Nigeria Vs Tunisia – 20 Matches Of Equal Wins, History Beckons

2021 AFCON Rof 16: Nigeria Vs Tunisia – 20 Matches Of Equal Wins, History Beckons

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By Amaechi Agbo

On Sunday, January 23, 2022, Nigeria and Tunisia will clash in one of the Last 16 matches of the ongoing Africa Cup of Nations AFCON in Cameroon.

Both teams reached the knockout statge with contrasting group stage results. Nigeria winning all three matches with Tunisia winning just one and losing other two.

The Super Eagles and the Carthage Eagles are perennial rivals who have faced each other 20 times, with each team holding six wins while the remaining eight fixtures ended in draws.

The match tomorrow must produce a winner, consequently both teams are priced for the contest with the two teams parading indigenous coaches.

BACK IN HISTORY:

At the Al Masry Stadium on 4th February 2006, Obinna Nsofor scored for Nigeria before Karim Haggui levelled for the Cup holders. In the shootout, Joseph Yobo and Yusuf Ayila missed as Chedli and Ben Achour did for Tunisia. Taye Taiwo, Nsofor and Obafemi Martins scored, as did Namouchi, Guemamdia and Jose Clayton for Tunisia. In sudden death, John Mikel Obi and goalkeeper Enyeama scored for Nigeria as did goalkeeper Ali Boumnijel and Hadj Massaoud for Tunisia, but after Nwankwo Kanu scored for Nigeria, Riadh Bouazizi saw his kick saved by Enyeama.

In dim and distant memory, Tunisia reached the final round of the 1978 FIFA World Cup African series after an own goal by Godwin Odiye in Lagos on 12th November 1977 eliminated Nigeria, but the following year, Nigeria earned the bronze medals of the 11th AFCON when Tunisia abandoned the match in the 42nd minute following an equalizer by Baba Otu Mohammed. Nigera were awarded the match 2-0.

In 1980, both countries tied 2-2 on aggregate in a Spain 82 World Cup qualifying fixture, with Nigeria proceeding after penalty shootout. In 1985, Tunisia edged their 1986 World Cup qualifying fixture 2-1 on aggregate – a lone goal by Okey Isima cancelled out with a two-goal blitz in the first 15 minutes of the return inside the Stade El Menzah in Tunis.

In recent and decent memory, Nigeria edged their opening encounter of the 2000 Africa Cup of Nations 4-2 in Lagos, with Jay Jay Okocha and Victor Ikpebe earning a brace each. In 2009, a 2010 FIFA World Cup qualifying fixture ended 0-0 and 2-2 in Tunis and Abuja, and in 2019 Nigeria won the bronze medals of the 32nd AFCON 1-0 in Cairo at the expense of the Carthage Eagles.

Their most recent encounter was a friendly game in Austria in October 2020, which ended 1-1 with Nigeria’s goal scored by Kelechi Iheanacho.

On Sunday at the Stade Roumdé Adjia, Nigeria will file out with three wins in three from their group phase campaign. The Tunisians were only able to defeat Mauritania while losing to Mali and The Gambia. Both countries are led by indigenous coaches. Mondher Kebaier will sit on the Tunisians’ bench.

The match will be Eguavoen’s 16th for Nigeria across three stints, during which he has walked off the pitch victorious in 13 of the previous 15, with only two narrow defeats. He is also the only man to have coached Nigeria to win all three group phase matches at the AFCON, achieving this in both his AFCON odysseys in 2006 and 2022.

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