Nigeria were crashed out of this year’s CHAN in Rwanda after they lost 1-0 to Guinea in a final Group C match in Rubavu yesterday.
Tunisia thrashed Niger 5-0 to win Group C on five points, while Guinea, also on five points, finished as runners-up. Nigeria were third on four points and Niger finished last in the group with a point.
It was the home-based Eagles first loss under coach Sunday Oliseh and it came at a bad moment and against most expectations as Nigeria were top of the group leading up this West African derby against Guinea and needed just a point to book their place in the last-eight of a competition they finished third two years ago.
AS Horoya 19-year-old midfielder Ibrahima Sankhon scored the match winner against Nigeria on the stroke of half time. Sankhon exploited poor Nigeria defending to score from inside the box.
Nigeria did not have clear sight at the Guinea goal with Osas Okoro wasting possibly Eagles best chance of the first half when he elected to shoot from inside the box when he had several other free teammates to pass to. Guinea bossed the possession and were the more cohesive team.
Nigeria were lucky not to concede a penalty when Jamiu Alimi handled the ball right inside the box in the 25th minute. After the interval, Nigeria brought on tournament leading scorer Chisom Chikatara for defensive midfielder Paul Onobi as the Eagles went for broke.
Substitute Bright Onyedikachi had two headers from inside the box in the second half, but they both missed their mark. Another substitute, Bature Yaro could also not steer his free kick from a very promising position home as the minutes ticked away for Nigeria.
In the 81st minute, goal scorer Sankhon’s stinging free kick was directed straight at goalkeeper Ikechukwu Ezenwa and eight minutes later he had another chance to double his team’s tally but his final shot rolled out of touch.