Super Eagles striker Joseph Aribo says he and his colleagues didn’t plan to exit the AFCON 2021 the way they did.
Nigeria lost 1-0 to Tunisia in their round of 16 clash on Sunday and Aribo revealed the mood in the team’s camp is not a happy one.
“We are really disappointed that this is not how we wanted things to go. The mood in the camp is that no one is happy,” Aribo told reporters in a mix-zone post-match interview.
“I just think we started really slow and we allowed them to take a foothold in the game. We can’t take anything away from them but we should have been there in the 90 minutes,” Aribo said.
Youssef Msakni put Tunisia ahead in the 47th minute to give Nigeria some homework before 59th minute substitute Alex Iwobi’s red card in the 65th minute made it a mountain to climb.
“We took too long to respond until the first goal. It is the only time we started playing and then the red card incident which was a bit disappointing also,” Aribo said.
“I felt that after their goal, we responded well so I felt we would have had a lot more chances.
“Of course that happening is a blow to us and made the game harder because we were chasing the game with 10 men and it was a lot easier for them because they had the extra man.”
But Aribo denied Nigeria underrated Tunisia who had struggled through the group stages to qualify as a third best side from Group F with one win and two defeats and were later hit by a raft of pre-match Covid-19 cases.
“I wouldn’t say that because we go into every game with respect for our opponent so it had nothing to do with underestimating them,” Aribo said.
“Like I said, they had a good game plan, they did what they had to do but we were just not good enough on the day.
“You can say anything; you can say, you could have done this differently, you could have done that differently but we were not just good enough in the 90 minutes.
“We gave them too much respect I would say on the ball but we needed to be better and take the game to them more.”