Nigeria U-20 Vs Tunisia U-20: 2023 AFCON Third-place Final Match Preview
Nigeria and Tunisia will lock horns in the third-place final of the 2023 Africa U-20 Cup of Nations. SportsRation presents a preview of the consolatory medal game.
Yes!! a third-place medal always serves as consolation for teams dissapointed after missing out on a place in the final match.
At Egypt 2023 Africa U-20 Cup of Nations, it is Nigeria and Tunisia who will look to bury the ghosts from their semi-final loss to Gambia and Senegal respectively, to take home a medal alongside already secured tickets to the 2023 FIFA World Cup in Indonesia.
Competition: 2023 Africa U-20 Cup of Nations Third-place Final
Fixture: Nigeria Vs Tunisia
Date: Friday March 10, 2023
Venue: Cairo International Stadium, Egypt
Kick-off Time: 3pm (Nigerian time)
Nigeria and Tunisia have clashed on two occasions at U-20 level.
The Flying Eagles have emerged victorious on both occasions. First, Nigeria defeated Tunisia with a 5-4 aggregate score over two legs in the 1981 Africa Youth Championship.
Fours years after, Nigeria and Tunisia clashed again in the 1985 final. Nigeria defeated Tunisia with a 3-2 aggregate score to lift the U-20 Africa Youth Championship title.
38-years on, Nigeria and Tunisia will meet again in the third-place final of the 2023 Africa U-20 Cup of Nations tournament in Egypt.
NIGERIA AND TUNISIA AT THE 2023 U-20 AFCON
Nigeria and Tunisia finished in second spot in their respective groups behind their semi-final conquerors Senegal and Gambia.
To reach the last-4, Nigeria recovered from a 1-0 opening day loss to Senegal with wins over Egypt and Mozambique to reach the quater-final as second best in Group A.
Ladan Bosso tutored Flying Eagles then defeated Uganda in the last-8 to seal a World Cup ticket and set-up a Semi final clash vs Gambia.
AFCON U-20: Bosso sends classy message to Nigerians after picking U-20 World Cup ticket
Nigeria did fall 0-1 to Gambia in the semi-final despite dominating the game and even missed a spot-kick in the 86th minute of play.
For Tunisia, 4-points was enough to secure a spot in the quater-final behind perfect Gambia in Group C.
The Eagles of Carthage then battled to a 3-3 regulation time draw vs Congo in the quater-final before truimphing 5-4 on penalties to reach the last-4.
Senegal then stopped their dreams of a first ever Africa U-20 Cup of Nations title with a 3-0 drubbing in the semi-final at the Suez Canal Stadium in Ismaila.
NIGERIA AND TUNISIA, U-20 AFCON HISTORY
Nigeria has won a record seven U-20 AFCON titles to rank as the most successful in the tournaments history.
Tunisia are without a taste of success at this level, their closest attempt was in 1985 and ended with defeat to Nigeria.
If they emerge victorious in the third-place final, it will be Nigeria’s fourth bronze medal at the competition. While it will be a first for Tunisia if they get their first win over Nigeria.
Interestingly, one of Nigeria and Tunisia has played in the third-place final of the last two editions. Nigeria lost the third place final of the 2019 edition while Tunisia were defeated by Gambia in the 2021 third-place final.
WHAT HAS BEEN SAID
Head Coach of Nigeria’s Flying Eagles Ladan Bosso
“It was unfortunate we lost the semifinals and now we will play the third place match,” Bosso told journalists at his pre-match press conference.
“The third place is as good as the final. We believe if we get it right we will take something home and I believe we can put smiles on the faces of football loving Nigerians.
“Nevertheless it is always believed that second best is not good enough but we have to fight for third place.”
“The most important thing is the target given to us was to first qualify the team to the World Cup which we achieved,” said Bosso.
“We wanted to get something additional but fortunately we didn’t get it right.
“We had our mistakes but I understand the feelings of some sections of Nigerians will not be comfortable with it.
“We lost to The Gambia not that they were better than us because we should have sealed that game in the beginning.
“Nevertheless the way we prepared for the Gambian team is the same way we will prepare for Tunisia with some adjustments to get the win.”
Tunisia U-20 Head Coach Sellimi
” After the psychological shock against Senegal I asked the players to pull themselves together because the competition is not over,”
“We can still win a trophy. The bronze medal is important for the CVs of the players, they must be aware of it.
“We can’t demolish everything because we’re not in the final.
“We have qualified for the World Cup. This group of players can be a base for the future of Tunisian football.”
Tunisian Goalkeeper Mohamed Amine Memiche
“The match is very important. We are going to play for the win, we have to redeem ourselves.
“We weren’t up to it against Senegal but we have an opportunity to correct the mistakes and win something.”
Both teams will play with less pressure having already secured FIFA U-20 World Cup tickets.
Expect both Coaches to drop most of the regulars and hand opportunity to other players to prove they will deserve a place in the World Cup plans.
That said, expect a very unpredictable game at the Cairo International Stadium.