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THE SHOT THAT PASSED RIGHT THROUGH THE NET    African Cup Of Nations 2000  JAN 22 - FEB 13  Nigeria/Ghana 
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Group A
Group B
Group C
Group D
3rd place
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Nigeria - Tunisia  4 : 2 

Before the match:  
If experts are right this is something like the atombomb among the opening matches: Nigeria and Tunisia, both are expected, if they win, they might develop the necessary confidence to go go all the way and win the Nations Cup. If they lose, they will have problems to reach the second round or go far. A draw might leave them in between. Indeed, the Nigerian form is a bit an a hinge. With few preperation matches the team, under pressure as hosts, might be influenced heavily by the confidence factor. Tunisia are emotionally more involved as any other team because of the strong ties to home football (19 of 22 play at Tunisia and it can be said that cups there still count more in relation to money than in a lot of other teams) and because of that depend on a boosted confidence as well. A crucial match and maybe one of the most exciting to begin with.  
- Sepp Blatter and Issa Hayatou are among the officials who honor Nwanko Kanu as African Footballer Of The Year before the match 

C.A.F. stats:  Nigeria / Tunisia   4-2 (1-0)
NIGERIA: 1-Ike Shoronmu; 2-Gbenga Okunowo, 3-Celestine Babayaro, 4-Nwankwo Kanu, 5-Furo Iyenemi, 6-Taribo West, 7- Finidi George (19 Benedict), 10-Austin Okocha, 11-Garba Lawal (13 Tijani Babangida), 15-Sunday Oliseh, 20-Victor Ikpeba (14 Amunike)
TUNISIA:  1-Chokri El Ouaer; 2-Khaled Badra (6- Mogaadi 60th), 
3-Sami Trabelsi, 4-Mounir Boukadida (21-Walid Azaiez 46th), 8-Zoubier Beya,10-Kaies Ghodhbane, 11-Adel Sellimi, 14-Sirajeddine Chihi, 15-Radhi 
Jaidi, 17-Tarek Thabet, 20-Zied Jaziri (7- Imed 46th)

1:0 ('27) Okocha, 1:1 ('49) Sellimi, 2:1 ('62) Okocha, 3:1 ('68) Ikpeba, 4:1 ('74) Ikpeba 4:2('90) Baya 
Referee: Alain Sars (FRA)
Ass. referees: Dramane Dante (MLI) & Rafael Guerrero Alonso (SPA)
Reserve referee: Ndoye Falla (SEN)
Commissioner: Molefi Oliphant (RSA)
Cautions: Tunisia: Trabelsi 7, Sellimi 16

The Shot That Passed Right Through The Net was right:
Tunisia's scorers have been Adel Sellimi (1:1) and Zoubeir Baya (4:2)
Now why did all the other sources report wrong yesterday (Azaiez, Sellimi)?
Because they all took the information from one and the same news source, Reuters news agency. The Reuters reporter might have fallen to the Nigerian TV which zoomed on Azaiez after the first Tunisian goal and so suggested him the scorer.
Today cafonline has corrected them selves in their cafonline match report and Tunisian sources confirm, too, what seems most likely after video reviewing. 
Mistakes can happen to anyone. The policy of this ticker will be: If I am not sure about, I will say it, if I will rely on information from other sources, I will say it as well.  

1st half 
- nervous start 
- ('6) Tunisia finds into match first and has a first opporuinity by a #4 header after their second corner 
- ('7) a holding gives Nigeria a 20 meter free kick, a sharp low ball and a great save by Chokri El Ouaer. 
The first 12 minutes have seen a better Tunisian team but also have suggested the danger portential the Nigerian key players can create out of nothing. It is hot, some shirts stick to the bodies with sweat, some moves are slow. 
- (16) Tunisians create major excitements ending with Adel Sellimi running into the arm of a blocking defender in the penalty area. He is awarded a ayellow card by the referee who makes clear he is unwilling to be unkind to the hosts. 
- ('21) Tunisians have some practised standard situation variations and those look a threat to Nigeria 
- ('23) more excitement in front of the Shoronmu goal 
- ('26) Okocha shot across the bar 
- ('27) Nigeria has exploded, created two big opportunities against an anxious Tunisian defence and Fini has hit the goal post with a 16m shot 
-('28) another fast through attack (a Kanu pass) against the Tunisian offside line (Ikpeba is in passive offside but on the other side of the field - this is the common interpretation, a right decision) finds Jay Jay Okocha on the right wing - he scores from half right with a sharp low shot. - 1:0 
- ('31) Tunisia: harmless shot saved by Shoronmu 
- ('35) match breaks open for a minute when both keepers touch the ball within 15 seconds. 
- ('37) neat Tunisian triangle passing, but Shoronmu is concentrated 
Tunisia has to apply their upfront pressing in very moderate doses because of the weather, but when they do they surprise the Nigerians 
- ('41) Tunisians complain a second time in a scene seeing a striker fall in the penalty area 
The Tunisian offside trap works well but has its dangers. 

Halftime 1:0 
Tunisia has impressed as a modern football playing team with a consistent plan but Nigeria has been more dangerous when their 'big play' players sprinkled in some exciting gamebrakers. 

2nd half 
- ('47) first Tunisian accents 
- ('48) cross ball from the left and Adel Sellimi heads it into the right corner from 10 meters - no chance for Shorunmu - 1:1 
- ('49)('51) Tunisia tries to profit from the shock, Okocha answers with a shot - no major hazard 
- ('55) match has become much faster, both looking for scores 
- ('58) after a one-two with Kanu Okocha shoots from 18 meters, the ground makes the ball difficult and it slips through the legs of Chokri El Ouaer - 2:1 
- ('61) Azaiez tries it from distance as well but no problem for Shorunmu who has less problems with the ground than his counterpart: 
- ('61) Chokri El Ouaer has problems to control a ball passed back to him which almost leads to a big opportunity 
The ground causes some irritations for the Tunisian ches machine. Nigeria tries to stand firm in defence and decide the match with some isolated situations. 
- ('69) A brilliant magical goal after a tricky passing sequence: Ikpeba is played free half left 10 meters distance and fires into the right corner. Again it has been Kanu who had the last touch before - 3:1 
- ('71) big opportunity for Tunisia but the header from close distance right into the arms of the keeper 
- ('72) the counter finds Tunisia unorganised and Ikpeba totally unmarked, he has no problems to find the empty net from 3 meters.- 4:1 
- ('78) another dangerous Nigeria counter attack 
- ('79) Okunowu with spectacular defence, Nigerias confidence is skyhigh now  
- ('82) Tunisian defence dissolves: despite marked by two players Kanu can set up an easy 4 meter header. Tunisians are lucky it flies across the bar. 
- ('85) Okocha displays his magic - something he has announced to keep reserved for matches with comfortable lead only 
- ('86) some lack of concentration in Negerian defence - but Shoronmu with good positioning game 
- ('89) the substitues Babangida and Akwuegbo deliver their part of the show 
- ('injury time) Tunisian attack is not giving up and Nigerians are quandering a ball but Shoronmu rescues with a great save 
- (''injury time) but the Tunisian spell continues for a minute and finally Baya scores by a deflected ball from 9 meters distance - 4:2 

Final result  4:2 
After the match you are always more clever: Has Tunisias game been to risky? Probably no, a match can run anywhere. But Nigerias big-play ( aterm borrowed from American Football where it means a play that has a big impact on the match) potential has merciless dismantled the fallibility of the Tunisian defence. 
Tunisia has two days more off to get over it than their next counterparts Morocco for the match that is now crucial for them to win. Two days more to get over but also two days more to start to worry. Their ability to bounce back will be put to a severe test. 
Nigeria on the other side has found cloud 9 to sail on to the title. Their biggest enemy will be complacency. This result is a boost to their catalytic confidence and an intimidating signal to the other teams.  

© The Shot That Passed Right Through The Net. [ Mail ]