The Super Eagles will, on Sunday, launch all the weapons in their armoury against the Desert Warriors, with a spot in the Final of the African Cup of Nations at stake.
To get to this stage, Nigeria overcame the challenge of South Africa, the conqueror of hosts Egypt. While Algeria squeezed past former winners Ivory Coast on penalties at the Suez Stadium Thursday night.
Ahead of the clash, SoccerNet‘s Imhons Erons go down memory lane to bring you some of the greatest battles between the two African giants.
AFCON 1980: Nigeria 3 – 0 Algeria
Hosts Nigeria, playing in their first ever Africa Cup of Nations Final in front of 85,000 vociferous Lagos supporters, rode to victory to lift their first Afcon title in style.
Segun Odegbami, tournament’s top scorer, bagged two goals in a thrilling first half to set the ball rolling before the magnificent Muda Lawal added a third goal five minutes into the second half to kick off wild celebrations all over the country.
The Desert Warriors had on parade for the full ninety minutes Lakhdar Belloumi, easily the greatest Algerian player of all time, and a certain, young Rabah Madjer on the bench, but there was nothing they could do against a defence marshalled by Christian Chukwu – player of the tournament – and Best Ogedengbe in the Nigerian goal.
The day ended with Nigeria as champions.
AFCON 1990: Algeria 5 – 1 Nigeria
It took ten years for Algeria to be presented with a chance at revenge for their humiliating loss in Lagos. When the chance arrived, they grabbed it with both hands.
It was the 17th edition of the Africa Cup of Nations. The foursome of Egypt, Ivory Coast, Nigeria and hosts Algeria were placed in the “Group of Death”.
In the opening match, Algeria led one-nil going into half time, courtesy of a strike from 1987 Africa Player of the Year, Rabah Madjer.
The Warriors, however, were not done. Again and again, they send waves of attack, battering the Green Eagles defence. Four more goals were conceded by the Nigerians, who had Emmanuel Okocha – elder brother to the legendary Austin Okocha – to thank for a consolation goal.
AFCON 1990: Algeria 1 – 0 Nigeria
Same tournament. Same venue. 105, 000 strong spectators. Nigeria faced Algeria to determine the winner of the continental championship.
The West Africans had done very well to recover from that scandalous opening day loss to qualify from the group and make it all the way to the title decider. But there awaited the terrifying hosts once again.
Rabah Madjer was terrific as usual. But the Green Eagles stood their ground.
A Cherif Oudjani goal just past the half-hour mark, however, decided an evenly balanced match.
And for the first and only time in history, Algeria were champions of Africa.
2006 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers: Algeria 2 – 5 Nigeria
Nigeria and Algeria were placed in the same group alongside Angola, Gabon, Rwanda, and Zimbabwe for the chance to play at the Mundial to be hosted by Germany.
A Joseph Yobo goal in the 84th minute of the first leg settled the game in Nigeria’s favour when they trade tackles in Abuja. But by the time the second leg came around, nearly a year after the first, the tension had reached the rooftop.
Algeria were already out of the race and Nigeria were hot on the heels of Angola, the group leaders, trailing on head-to-head rule.
It was win or bust.
And win the Super Eagles did, smashing five goals past the Desert Warriors right inside the Stade Ahmed Zabana, Oran.
Eventually, both teams failed as Angola went on to appear at the World Cup for the first time ever.
1994 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers: Nigeria 4 – 1 Algeria
The final round of qualifiers for the 1994 World Cup saw Nigeria grouped together with Ivory Coast and Algeria, with only the group winners advancing to the Mundial proper.
Nigeria started the round with a 2 – 1 away loss to the Ivorians. A win against the visiting Algerians was needed badly to get the campaign back on track.
But the Warriors did not get the mail. Within 5 minutes, Captain Abdelhafid Tasfaout had put the visitors ahead.
What followed afterwards, however, was one of the best halves the Super Eagles had ever played.
By the half-hour mark, Nigeria was three goals to the good, thanks to a J J Okocha opener and a brace from goal-machine Rashidi Yekini.
The tireless Daniel Amokachi added a fourth late in the match to set Nigeria on the path that finally took them to the World Cup for the very first time.