Wednesday’s third place match between Tunisia and Nigeria has been described in the Tunisian media as ‘small final’ which the Carthage Eagles need to win as consolation after missing a place in the final.
Tunisia who lost by a lone goal (Own goal) against Taranga Lions of Senegal believe strongly they were denied opportunity to win the match by Centre referee Tessema Weyesa Bamlak, insisting they had a penalty that was denied.
“Injustice in the 113th minute: A penalty awarded to Tunisia is quickly withdrawn by the referee despite the clarity of the action: the hand was visible!” were the post-match submissions by some analysts in Tunis.
The 2004 Nations cup winners who last won the third place match of the Nations cup 57 years ago in Ethiopia, will be playing their fourth third place match. After winning the third place of the 1962 edition, the Carthage Eagles subsequently played the third place match in 1978 and 2000 respectively failing to clinch the third place on both occasions.
After putting the disappointment behind them however both Tunisia and Nigeria are ready for the battle of Eagles. The media in Tunis described it as “A match that would be a consolation for the Carthage Eagles who were denied qualification for the final, facing the Lions of Teranga, following an arbitral injustice”
Nigeria, eliminated by the Fennecs in the semifinals on the score of (1-2), will play this small final without the services of his left side, Jamilu Collins, who received his second suspension card just minutes from the final whistle.
Unlike the Carthage Eagles who have won the third place match just once, Super Eagles have won the third place a record seven times the last being the 2010 edition in Angola where Nigeria incidentally beat Algeria 1-0 to win the third place.