CAIRO, July 17 (Reuters) – Odion Ighalo’s early goal gave Nigeria a 1-0 win over Tunisia in their third-place playoff at the Africa Cup of Nations on Wednesday.
The 30-year-old forward, who is the tournament’s top scorer with five goals, was gifted an easy tap-in following a Tunisian defensive mix-up at the Al Salam Stadium.
Jamilu Collins’ cross from the left was poorly parried by goalkeeper Moez Ben Cherifa against the legs of defender Yassine Meriah, who tried to stop it from going over the line before Ighalo pounced to give Nigeria a third-minute lead.
It proved a costly blunder for Tunisia, who lost Sunday’s semi-final in extra time to Senegal in similar circumstances.
Ben Cherifa attempted to make up for his error with some good saves in the second half, first denying Samuel Chukwueze’s left-footed shot just after the hour mark before saving two efforts from substitute Samuel Kalu in stoppage time.
Nigeria, who dominated the game, have won the bronze medal at eight different Cup of Nations’ tournaments.
Algeria play Senegal in the Cup of Nations final in Cairo on Friday. (Reporting by Mark Gleeson; Editing by Toby Davis)