Nigeria was eliminated from the Africa Cup of Nations after losing 1-0 to Gambia in today’s semifinals. Sengael scored early on through Adama Bojang and then went into defense. The flying eagles tried everything to equalize, but the Baby Scorpions held on to their lead for the rest of the game despite being reduced to 10 men after defender Haruna Njie was sent off in the 90th minute for his second yellow card of the night.
Gambia will now face Senegal in the final on Saturday, after Senegal defeated Tunisia 3-0 earlier in the day to secure their place in the final.
Here are the three Nigerian players that were responsible for today’s defeat;
1. Francis Ayuba
Francis Ayuba led the Flying Eagles’ attack today, but he wasn’t as effective as one might have expected. He played poorly in today’s match. He has been a standout performer since the competition began, but he was unable to replicate that performance in today’s semifinals. He had a poor start to the game and was replaced in the early minutes of the second half.
2. Ahmed Abdulahi
Ahmed, who replaced Francis Ayubain in the second half, failed to equalize for Nigeria after being awarded a penalty kick in the 86th minute. It wasn’t the team’s best decision to give Ahmed such a crucial penalty kick knowing full well that he wasn’t one of the team’s best performers.
3. Rilwanu Saraki
Rilwanu Saraki was ineffective against Gambia today. He failed to create scoring chances for his teammates and was unable to mount a truly threatening attack yesterday. Despite his poor performances in the competition, Coach Bosso kept him in the starting lineup today. He played on the right wing and was unable to trouble Gambia’s defenders. Instead, Jude should have been in the starting lineup for today’s game. He came on late in the game to replace Rilwanu Saraki and could only offer his best attack.