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Last Updated: Thursday, 9 February 2006, 18:02 GMT
Nigeria 1-0 Senegal
By Richard Fleming
BBC Sport, Cairo

Nigerian players celebrating
Nigeria celebrated finishing third at the 2006 African Cup of Nations

Nigeria claimed the bronze medal at the African Cup of Nations for the third successive time with a 1-0 win over Senegal in Cairo.

Garba Lawal grabbed the winner with just 10 minutes of the game remaining as he fired home a John Utaka cross.

Even Jay-Jay Okocha in his final game for Nigeria failed to light up a dull game that was played at walking pace.

Both coaches made sweeping changes to the sides which fell short at the semi-final stage.

Senegal boss Abdoulaye Sarr rested no less than eight players, including previously ever-presents Tony Sylva, Lamine Diatta, Souleymane Diawara and Amdy Faye.

Nigeria's Austin Eguavoen excluded Kanu from his starting eleven, which will have further frustrated West Bromwich Albion manager Bryan Robson.

Robson was already upset that both Kanu and Diomansy Kamara will miss Saturday's game at Fulham because of the pointless play-off.

First half chances fell the way of Nigerian defender Taye Taiwo, who crashed a free-kick onto the crossbar, while Guirane Ndaw's long-range dipper for Senegal brought a finger-tip save from a back-peddling Vincent Enyeama.

Nigeria's winner came on 79 minutes, in an otherwise tepid second half.

John Utaka's deep cross from the right-hand side was met at the far post by an incoming Garba Lawal, whose shot nestled neatly in the opposite corner with Senegal goalkeeper Papa Mamadou Diouf well beaten.

Okocha failed to complete the game as he was replaced by Wilson Oruma midway through the second half.

It was not the way the Super Eagles' skipper will have wanted his international career to end, but after winning 74 caps over 13 years, the midfield maestro makes way for the next generation.

His career highlight was winning the Nations Cup in 1994 and he was named player of the 2004 tournament, during which he scored the 1,000th goal in the tournament's history.

  • Nigeria coach Austin Eguavoen:
    "We are delighted to have finished third.

    "We had the potential to go all the way but lost in the semi-finals.

    "But it was an achievement in itself to reach the last four."

  • Senegal coach Abdoulaye Sarr:
    "The statistics do not reflect the quality of our play here as we continued to improve with each game.

    "I'm satisfied with our performance at this tournament even though our target was to reach the final.

    "For the third place match, I decided to give the younger players a chance as we begin to plan for the future."

    Clockwatch: Nigeria 1-0 Senegal
    09 Feb 06 |  African


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