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Alex Iwobi Is Red-Carded 5 Minutes After Coming On, Nigeria Crashes Out Of AFCON

Looking for a favorite at the Africa Cup of Nations after the group stage, no team stood out quite like Nigeria — which won all three of its matches with Kelechi Iheanacho, Moses Simon and Samuel Chukwueze all shining in attack. 

The Super Eagles returned to action in the Round of 16 on Sunday against Tunisia, which limped into the last-16 as a third-place finisher after defeats to Mali and Gambia were overcome with a win over the world's 103rd-ranked side, Mauritania.

Nigeria was the heavy favorite, especially so with Tunisia also facing a COVID-19 outbreak that ruled out seven players, including captain Wahbi Khazri, and manager Mondher Kebaier. 

But this tournament has shown time and again that form goes out the window once the whistle blows, and following a cagey first half, it was Tunisia that took the lead in the 47th minute after Youssef Msakni's hopeful hit from distance deceived goalkeeper Maduka Okoye. 

Alex Iwobi replaced Iheanancho as Nigeria went looking for an equalizer, but the Everton winger lasted all of five minutes before he was sent off in the 66th for planting his studs into the ankle of an opponent.

Umar Sadiq had one big opporunity for the Super Eagles at the end, but the forward rolled his shot agonizingly wide of the far post.

"We got punished for one mistake," said Nigeria manager Augustine Eguavoen. "Alex should not have been given a red card but the referee saw it differently. But congratulations to Tunisia."

Tunisia plays Burkina Faso — which beat Gabon in an epic penalty shootout earlier Sunday — in the quarterfinals. 

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