2019 AFCON: Tunisia faces Nigeria in third place play-off
The Carthage Eagles of Tunisia will battle with Nigeria for bronze medal, as both teams play in the third place play-off of the 2019 Total African Cup of Nations hosted by Egypt.
Tunisia’s dream to play their fourth final in the African Cup of Nations history was quashed by defender Dylan Bronn’s unfortunate own goal in their 1-0 defeat to Senegal.
2015 winners, Nigeria, hopes to win a second title in 3 editions at the 2019 African Cup of Nations in Egypt was dashed after a sumptuous Riyad Mahrez stoppage-time free-kick found the back of the net to put Algeria 2-1 up.
The Super Eagles of Nigeria and the Carthage Eagles now seek to give their countries something to boast about when they come face-face in the third place match on Wednesday.
Gernot Rohr, head coach of Nigeria believes his side will take the bronze medal as they target the third place.
“A goal in the last minute from a free-kick is very difficult to take. We watched the matched and we performed very well in front of a great team. Now we target the third place.”
Arsenal Midfielder, Alex Iwobi mentioned at the pre-match press conference that the Nigeria team has a chance to go back home with their heads not bowed down in shame. He said they will try and win it.
“We have one game one we’ll try to win it. Yes we didn’t reach the final but playing for the third place is also great. I believe that I delivered a great performance and it’s not over yet. The rest of the players know that we still have chance to go back home with our heads lifted,” the attacker stressed.
The Carthage Eagles of Tunisia have vowed to do everything they can to win the match and earn a medal at the tournament, an achievement they have craved for a long time.
“The match will be very difficult physical and technical wise and would try everything we could to achieve the third place. Of course we wanted to reach the final but now we focus on the third place. I can’t say that all my players are perfectly fit, we have few time to know how ready the players are,” Alain Giresse, coach for Tunisia remarked.
Tunisian midfielder, Mohamed Drager, buttressed the coach’s assertions promising that they will try everything they could to win the third place play off against Nigeria to make up for the defeat to Senegal.
“We try to keep in a good shape in front of Senegal and we were so close to reach the final but now we’ll try to get the third place.”
Mohamed Drager blamed Video Assistant Referee (VAR) for their failure to reach the final of the 2019 African Cup of Nations.
"Yes the VAR affected the team’s chances in going to the final, for me the penalty was clear but we have to accept the situation now”, Drager added.
Head to head
Nigeria has just one win in six previous matches against Tunisia with both teams playing out five draws. Both teams have met once in the third place play-off in 1978. The third-place match was tied 1–1 when the Tunisian team left the field in the 42nd minute in protest of the officiating. Nigeria were awarded a 2–0 walkover.
1978 Accra (Third place) Nigeria 1-1 (awarded 2-0) Tunisia
2000 Lagos (Group stage) Nigeria 4-2 Tunisia
2004 Rades (Semifinal) Tunisia 1-1 (5-3 on penalties) Nigeria
2006 Port Said (Quarterfinal) Nigeria 1-1 (6-5 on penalties) Tunisia
Venue and What time is the kick-off
The fight for the bronze medal will be held at the Al Salam Stadium in Cairo on 17 June 2019. The match starts at 19:00 GMT.
Senegal and Algeria will climax the 2019 African Cup of Nations as they play in the final of the tournament for the trophy on Friday, July 19, 2019.