BY KUNLE SOLAJA
There is a common denominator for Nigeria and Tunisia as both on Wednesday re-enact their struggle for third place in the Africa Cup of Nations as they did 40 years ago in Ghana.
Both teams were victims of own goals in their respective semi-finals matches on Sunday. Tunisia’s loss of a place in Friday’s final was occasioned by the after regulation time own goal conceded by Dyran Bronn in the match with Senegal.
In the same direction of goal post, Nigeria’s William Troost-Ekong turned the ball into his goal net before the team also conceded an after regulation time goal.
Own-goal is not strange to both teams. The most recalled encounter of Nigeria and Tunisia has an own goal as an indelible memory when Godwin Odiye infamously headed the ball into his goal net in Nigeria’s last qualifying match for the Argentina ’78 World Cup.
Even Nigerian football fans not born at the time grew up to know about the November 12, 1977 own goal that denied Nigeria World Cup qualification on home soil.
Nigeria and Tunisia met on March 16, 1978 in Kumasi, Ghana in a similar losers’ final as that of this Wednesday.
The game ended abruptly when the Tunisians walked out in protest after Baba Otu Mohammed levelled up for Nigeria just before halftime after Tunisia had scored in the 19th minute through Mohamed Ali Akid.
The match was awarded to Nigeria with a 2-0 score line.
P W D L F A
Tunisia 15 4 5 6 13 19
Nigeria 15 6 5 4 19 13
- 25 Nov.1961 (Afconq) Nigeria 2-1 Tunisia
- 10 Dec. 1961 (Afconq) Tunisia 2-2 Nigeria *inconclusive (Nigeria walked out).
- 25 Sept. 1977 (WCq) Tunisia 0-0 Nigeria
- 12 Nov. 1977 (WCq) Nigeria 0-1 Tunisia
- 16 Mar. 1978 (ACN) Tunisia 0-2 Nigeria (w/o) (actual scores 1-1 before Tunisians walked out)*.
- 26 June. 1980 (WCq) Tunisia 2-0 Nigeria
- 12 Jul. 1980 (WCq) Nigeria 2-0 Tunisia * (2-2 on aggregate: Nigeria won penalty shoot-out 4-3).
- 29 Sept. 1984 (F) Tunisia 5-0 Nigeria
- 6 Jul. 1985 (WCq) Nigeria 1-0 Tunisia
- 20 Jul. 1985 (WCq) Tunisia 2-0 Nigeria
- 22 Feb. 1992 (SCSA) Tunisia 1-1 Nigeria
- 9 Aug.1997 (LG Cup) Tunisia 2-0 Nigeria
- 23. Jan.2000 (ACN) Nigeria 4-2 Tunisia
- 11. Feb.2004 (ACN) Nigeria 1 -1Tunisia *Tunisia won 6-3 in penalty shoot out
- 4. Feb 2006 Tunisia 1-1 Nigeria (6-5pen)
- 20 June 2009 (WCq) Tunisia 0-0 Nigeria
- 6 Sept. 2009 (WCq) Nigeria 2-2 Tunisia