Ighalo gives Nigeria third place and is favourite to win Golden Boot
Nigeria claimed third place at the 2019 African Cup of Nations after a 1-0 victory over Tunisia in what was far from a classic.
30-year-old striker Ighalo, who plays for Shanghai Shenhua, struck the only goal of the match just 130 seconds after the kick-off before a small crowd at the Al Salam Stadium in Cairo.
Ighalo pounced from close range when Jamilu Collins' cross led to a mix-up between Tunisia goalkeeper Moez Ben Cherifia and defender Yassine Meriah. Ighalo now leads the goalscoring charts at the tournament with five goals. Algerians Mahrez and Ounas and Senegal's Mane are all on three and they have a chance to increase their totals when the two countries face off in Friday's final at the Cairo International Stadium. Cedric Bakambu also has three, but he is unable to add to his tally.
Ighalo, who was the leading scorer in the 2019 qualifying competition with seven goals, left the field just before half-time with a pulled hamstring just one minute after Tunisia's Khenissi was also forced off through injury.
Tunisia had little to offer in attack and despite a good start to the second period, it took 57 minutes before they had a goal attempt on target.
Chukwueze almost doubled Nigeria's lead when he saw his 25 yard shot tipped round the post in the 63rd minute, but despite being only one goal to the good, they were extremely comfortable.
Khazri almost caused Nigeria trouble nine minutes from time, but his cut back from the by-line was unable to find Chaoaut and between three Nigerian defenders they cleared the danger.
Nigeria maintained their perfect record in third place playoffs at the Cup of Nations having won six other matches between the beaten semi-finalists. The first of those successes came in 1978 against Tunisia in a match abandoned just before half-time when the north Africans stormed off to protest a disputed Nigerian equaliser.
Nigeria were awarded a 2-0 victory in Ghana and have now won six other playoffs, including three in a row between 2002 and 2006. For Tunisia, it was a very disappointing way to end the tournament, but it was their best tournament since winning it on home soil in 2004.