AFCON2021: Super Eagles smash Nigerian hearts; Msakni featured in Pulse of the Day


Relive all the key and biggest moments from each matchday at the 33rd Africa Cup of Nations

Nigerians have had their delicate and patriotic hearts shattered after the Super Eagles suffered a shock defeat to Tunisia in the first round of the knockout stages at the ongoing Africa Cup of Nations, AFCON 2021, on Sunday.

A COVID-19 depleted Tunisia proved to be too good for Nigeria and the Super Eagles in a heartbreaking round of 16 encounter in Garoua yesterday.

Msakni’s stunning goal shatters Nigeria’s AFCON dream

Nigeria’s Super Eagles were on a quest to bring home Africa’s biggest prize in football, the Africa Cup Nations title for the fourth time.

But despite being without their manager and several other key starters and players, Tunisia, inspired by Youssef Msakni, not Nigeria, will be taking on Burkina Faso in the AFCON 2021 quarterfinals in a matter of days.

Youssef Msakni (C) celebrates after scoring to give Tunisia a shock Africa Cup of Nations last-16 victory over Nigeria in Garoua on Sunday

Msakni netted the only goal of the game in the second half to give the Carthage Eagles of Tunisia a narrow 1-0 win over favourites, Nigeria, in their last 16 battle of the Eagles.

Managed by the interim boss, Augustine Eguavoen, the Super Eagles started well, playing what came to be known as “Eguavoen Ball” or “Egua-Ball” as Nigeria blitzed through the group stages unscathed.

Augustine Eguavoen was named manager of the Group Stages at the AFCON2021

Three wins in three, including one of the performances of the ongoing AFCON 2021, that solid display to see off seven-time winners, Egypt in their opening game of the tournament.

However, with so many Nigerians made to believe in ‘Eguavoen Ball’, it all came crashing down to earth on the first round of the knockout stages.

Going head-to-head with a COVID-19 depleted Tunisia, Nigeria was favoured to win their fourth successive match and go through to the quarterfinal.

Nigeria laboured against Tunisia and had no answers on the night (Photo by Imago/Shengolpixs/Tobi Adepoju)

But a spirited display by the available Tunisian players, led by match-winner, Msakni, who netted the only goal of the game, a beautiful effort from outside the box, ensured that Nigeria will go no further than ‘Egua-Ball’ had promised and made them believe.

Nigeria knocked out of the AFCON

‘Eguavoen-Ball’ was outwitted and outfoxed and the Nigerian Eagles failed to fly not to talk about soaring against a depleted side.

That goal by Msakni, two minutes into the second half, is the deserved first Pulse of the Day in the knockout stages.