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Afcon 2021: Eguavoen reveals how Tunisia stopped Nigeria

11:23 PM GMT+8 24/01/2022
tunisia  - Youssef Msakni 2021
The tactician has explained what the Carthage Eagles did right to stop the three-time African champions in Garoua

Nigeria head coach Augustine Eguavoen has shared his insight on how Tunisia were able to cage the Super Eagles in Sunday’s Africa Cup of Nations match.

Prior to the Round of 16 showdown staged at the Roumde Adjia Stadium, the West Africans were favourites to scale through judging by their impressive form in the group stage – where they kept a perfect record.

For the Carthage Eagles, they qualified for the Round of 16 having squeezed through as one of the best third-placed teams in Cameroon.

Irrespective, the Tunisians – who had several key players missing – earned a place in the quarter-finals courtesy of their 1-0 triumph.

Asked where the Super Eagles got it wrong against the North Africans, the 56-year-old said the tactical approach adopted by the 2004 African kings hindered his team from sailing through as star player Moses Simon was not given room to operate.

“We came into the game very strong – the Tunisians respected us, and we respected them as well,” Eguavoen told the media.

“They formed their defence on a low block, then our ball movement from the defence to the midfield and then into the attacking position was sometimes slow.

“That gave them the opportunity to always recover and double up on [Moses] Simon and [Samuel] Chukwueze.

“We spoke about it when the game was on, it didn’t still improve. We discussed this at the end of the first half and in the second half, the movement of the ball became a little bit faster.

“But be that as it may, I think the Tunisians also formed a low block which was a little bit difficult to crack down.

“I will say congratulations to them but I will say our boys gave all their best, but it wasn’t meant to be.”

The last time Nigeria failed to get to the quarter-final of the biennial African football showpiece was at Libya 1982 as Otto Gloria’s Green Eagles failed to get past the group stage.

They have reached the semi-finals in 14 of their last 16 Afcon participations, winning the tournament on three occasions.

Eguavoen’s men are expected to shift attention to their 2022 World Cup qualification play-off clash against Ghana in March.