The game lacked the skill and flair both sides had so ably demonstrated earlier on in the tournament and in the end the third place playoff was nothing more than a damp squib.

Nigeria took the honour of finishing third in this year's competition; though it was unclear whish team merited the title on Thursday's showing.

Africa Cup of Nations Qualification
Mane scores as Senegal qualify for Africa Cup of Nations finals
15/11/2020 AT 18:43

Both teams were more than capable of keeping possession for sustained periods of time, but neither side had the composure to put the finishing touches to each passing move.

LACK OF NOUS

The first half was a turgid affair and the lack of attacking nous was more than evident in forty five minutes of football that nearly even had the boisterous Nigerian fans in silence.

One moment of class elevated itself out of the mire after 12 minutes as Nigerian left-back Taiwo saw his superbly taken free kick cannon back of the Senegalese cross bar and away to safety.

The youngster - who has impressed with his strong play at the back and powerful sorties forward - is reportedly being touted by Inter Milan and on the evidence of his free kick, the Italians are onto a winner.

Current Inter player Obafemi Martins also had a chance to give Nigeria a first half lead, but the striker somehow conspired to miss a headed opportunity when it looked easier to score on 36 minutes.

GOODBYE TO OKOCHA

Indeed Martins was disappointing throughout, but even his performance eclipsed that of team-mate Jay-Jay Okocha, who rarely posed any kind of threat to the Senegal goal.

The Bolton man was eventually replaced on 67 minutes as he took his final bow for the Super Eagles having announced his decision to retire from international football after the tournament.

The breakthrough finally came with just over ten minutes remaining as Lawal was able to send a well controlled volley past Papa Mamadou Diouf in the Senegal net from John Utaka's cross.

Nigeria took third place, but there can be no denying that all eyes are now firmly fixed on Friday's final.

Follow all the action right here on eurosport.com from 17:00 cet on Friday as hosts Egypt take on the Ivory Coast!

All the African Nations news!

Africa Cup of Nations
Thousands crowd streets to celebrate Algeria success
20/07/2019 AT 21:00
Africa Cup of Nations
Freak goal earns Algeria first AFCON title in 29 years
19/07/2019 AT 20:48