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Afcon 2021: Tunisia squeeze through to face Nigeria in the Round of 16

8:54 am AEDT 21/1/22
Super Eagles, Nigeria
The Super Eagles will meet the 2004 African champions who were beaten by Gambia on Thursday night

Nigeria will square up against Tunisia in the Round of 16 of the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations.

The Carthage Eagles booked their place in the knockout phase of the competition as one of the four third-placed countries after a shock 1-0 loss to the Gambia on Thursday night.

Prior to their last Group F showdown against the Scorpions, the North Africans needed a win to finish as runners-up.

In the closing stages of the first half, they were awarded a penalty as Pa Modou was penalised for a foul on Seifeddine Jaziri.

Jaziri stepped up to take the ensuing kick and goalkeeper Baboucarr Gaye guessed the right way to save it. This was the third spot-kick which Tunisia have missed at this year’s tournament.

Despite the 2004 African kings dominating the ball possession, it was Tom Saintfiet’s men who had the last laugh when Seraing midfielder Ablie Jallow curled in a superb left-footed strike from inside the box which left Bechir Ben Said standing motionless.

To reach the last eight of Cameroon 2021, Augustine Eguavoen’s men must negotiate their way past Mondher Kebaier’s team.

The match will be held on Sunday at the Roumde Adjia Stadium in Garoua. The winner from there, will face either Burkina Faso or Gabon in the quarter-finals.

Both teams have met on four occasions in the history of the competition, albeit, it is Nigeria who hold the upper hand.

The West Africans squared up against the North Africans for the first time in the third-place game of Ghana 1978.

With the score tied at 1-1 at the Accra Sports Stadium, the Tunisians walked off the pitch in the 42nd minute to protest the officiating.

The Confederation of African Football awarded the Eagles a 2-0 win while banning the Carthage Eagles from the 1980 edition.

Twenty-six years later, they met at Stade 7 November, Tunis as hosts Tunisia defeated the three-time African champions 5-3 on penalties after the score ended 1-1 after 120 minutes.

Two years later in the competition, Nigeria avenged their loss by silencing the Tunisians in the quarter-final at the Port Said Stadium.

Their last outing was in Egypt 2019 when Odion Ighalo’s first-half strike settled the third-place showdown between Gernot Rohr’s men and the North Africans in the fight for the bronze medal.