Two of Africa’s football giants with rich history of rivalries will come at loggerheads when the Super Eagles take on Desert Foxes of Algeria in the semi-final of the Africa Cup of Nations at the Cairo International Stadium on Sunday.
Nigeria defeated South Africa 2-1 in the quarter-finals with goals from Samuel Chukwueze and William Troost-Ekong on either side of Bongani Zungu’s header.
Algeria’s Desert Foxes overcame the Elephants of Ivory Coast 4-3 on penalties to set up a mouthwatering showdown with Nigeria.
Head to Head
The two sides have met on 19 occasions with Nigeria winning 9 while Djamel Belmadi’s men have won 7 with 3 matches draw.
Gernot Rohr will be hoping his super eagles team will be on song against a strong Algerian defense that has only conceded one goal.
Samuel Chukwueze who scored in the 2-1 quarter-final win over South Africa, is tipped to start ahead of Moses Simon in the line-up.
Youcef Atal is doubtful after being forced off in the quarter-final against Ivory Coast with a shoulder injury, with Mehdi Zeffane likely to take his place at right-back.
Riyad Mahrez, Baghdad Bounedjah, Sofiane Feghouli and Youcef Belaili will be the key players in attack for the Foxes.
It is hard to see them giving anything away in the early stages against Gernot Rohr’s team, which has scored just two first-half goals in five matches so far this campaign.
Super Eagles defender Kenneth Omeruo has declared that the Super Eagles are ready for any dirty antics Algeria may adopt against them in Sunday’s semifinal match.
“The Algerians are fast and skilful which means we have to be careful against them. We have not seen the incident from their game against Ivory Coast, but it is good that there is VAR now and we also trust the referee to do a good job.
“We know the North Africans and their antics, but we will handle everything well. South Africa tried to do the same thing against us, they didn’t succeed.”
Algeria head coach Djamel Belmadi says his side must be very prepared to overcome the Super Eagles.
“We played two days ago against Ivory Coast, but we have tried to recover in time for our semifinal game against Nigeria, “Belmadi told a news conference in Cairo on Saturday.
“It is a semifinal game and we must be well prepared much more than normal. Defensively, we have to be on top of our game against a difficult Nigerian side with good players. We will not divulge our tactical plans here.”
Gambian referee Bakary Papa Gassama will be the man in the middle when the Super Eagles of Nigeria take on the Desert Foxes of Algeria.
Probable Line up
Ahmed Musa (c)
Riyad Mahrez (c)
Sunday’s encounter between this two teams will be too close to call considering the fact that both teams have shown the hunger and determination to win games. However, it would be safe to play ‘any team win and under 4.5’.