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Page last updated at 18:36 GMT, Saturday, 30 January 2010

Nigeria 1-0 Algeria

Nigeria celebrate Victor Obinna's goal

Nigeria 1-0 Algeria

Nigeria defeated a severely depleted Algerian side 1-0 to claim third place at the Africa Cup of Nations.

Striker Victor Obinna's brave 54th minute effort sealed the victory for the Super Eagles in Benguela.

But Nigeria should have won by a wider margin as they fluffed several good scoring chances.

Kalu Uche should have put his side in the lead just before the break but missed from six yards, while Lamine Zemmomouche saved Obinna's strike.

Victory for the Super Eagles ensured that they picked up their fourth bronze medal in the last five outings at the continental tournament.

"This is a good thing that we won this game," Nigeria coach Shaibu Amodu said. "It's always better to leave with a prize."

Despite the defeat, it is the best Nations Cup campaign for Algeria since they won the tournament they hosted in 1990.

"This was a very good competition overall," said Algeria coach Rabah Saadane, whose side will play at the World Cup in South Africa in June.

"We played six high-level matches, we spotted our mistakes and this was a good preparation for the World Cup."

With just pride at stake, the game lacked urgency as several key Nigeria players were rested in favour of those who have seen little action in the competition.

This allowed coach Amodu to give Nwankwo Kanu, Seyi Olofinjana, Chidi Odiah and Obinna their first starts of the tournament for the Super Eagles.

Algeria coach Rabah Saadane also rang the changes as goalkeeper Zemmomouche took the place of Faouzi Chaouchi who was sent off in their Thursday's 4-0 semi-final defeat at the hands of Egypt.

Defenders Rafik Halliche and Nadir Belhadj - who were also red carded in the game against the Pharaohs - were replaced by Reda Baabouche and Samir Zaoui in the Desert Foxes starting line-up.

The first half lacked any zest as both sides strolled on the pitch with very few chances created.

Kanu cut inside two Algerian defenders in the 34th minute and unleashed a long-rage shot but was denied by Zemmomouche.

Obinna also failed to test the goalkeeper after letting rip from 25 yards, before Uche's goal on 42 minutes was rightly adjudged offside by referee Badara Diatta.

Mourad Meghni failed to punish the west Africans for their profligacy when he volleyed wide from close range after Hamuer Bouazza's cross from the right.

Uche also missed a glorious chance just before the break when he burst into box with only Zemmomouche at his mercy, but he laid a pass for Obinna who slipped.

The second half started promisingly, with both teams creating early chances.

The Algerian keeper failed to gather Taye Taiwo's rasping free-kick five minutes after the interval and Obinna's follow-up strike came off the bar.

The Spain-based striker made amends moments later when her showed great determination to beat three Algeria defenders before placing the ball beyond Zemmomouche.

Abdelkader Ghezzal could have put the Desert Foxes level in on 77 minutes but he failed to connect Raho's deflected cross in the box.

Nigeria: Enyeama, Apam, Odiah, Shittu, Taiwo, Olofinjana, Kaita, Uche (Martins 65), Obinna, Obasi Ogbuke (Odemwingie 81), Kanu (Mikel 78).

Subs Not Used: Aiyenugbu, Yobo, Echiejile, Etuhu, Mohammed, Nwaneri, Yakubu, Yussuf, Ejide.

Goals: Obinna 55

Algeria: Zemmamouche, Bougherra, Zaoui, Raho, Babouche, Bouazza (Ziaya 59), Meghni (Abdoun 58), Ziani, Yebda, Mansouri, Ghezzal (Saifi 85).

Subs Not Used: Gaouaoui, Bezzaz, Laifaoui, Lemmouchia, Matmour, Yahia.

Booked: Zaoui.

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