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Africa Cup of Nations

Afcon 2019: 'Love me or leave me' - Leon Balogun apologises for blunder in Nigeria's loss to Madagascar

11:53 GMT+3 02/07/2019
Nigeria v. Argentina - Balogun
The Brighton and Hove Albion centre-back made a defensive mistake that led to the first goal at the Alexandria Stadium

Nigeria defender Leon Balogun has taken to social media to apologise to fans for his blunder in the team's 2-0 loss to Madagascar on Sunday.

Balogun partnered William Troost-Ekong in the defence for his second appearance at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) but underwhelmed in Alexandria.

Madagascar opened the scoring in the 13th minute through Lalaina Nomenjanahary who pounced on a defensive error made by the 31-year-old.

While trying to play out from the back, John Ogu passed to Balogun at the edge of the penalty area, but the defender hesitated which left Nomenjanahary to take control as he rounded goalkeeper Ikechukwu Ezenwa before scoring into an empty net.

The Brighton and Hove Albion defender admitted his mistake during Sunday's encounter but promised to 'bounce back' amid criticism from Nigerian fans.

"You can love me or either leave me, but I'm only human and I make mistakes," Balogun tweeted.

"Try not to hold that against me though. I accept full responsibility for my actions, so if you all expect me to be perfect, I apologise for being human. No mistake's too great to recover and bounce back."

After the restart, Carolus Andriamatsinoro's deflected free-kick compounded the Super Eagles' woes as they finished second behind the Barea in Group B.

Nigeria are expected to meet the runners-up in Group F in the Round of 16.