An early Ramy Bensebaini goal was all the Desert Foxes needed to secure a back-to-back victory over the Super Eagles in an international friendly March at the Worthersee Stadium in Austria.
The reigning African champions defeated Nigeria 2-1 in Egypt last year on their way to picking up their second continental crown. They made it two wins in two thanks to Bensebaini’s sixth-minute poke in on Friday.
Nigeria didn’t deal well with an Algerian corner kick, and the fullback slammed home from close range after the ball fell kindly to him.
Gernot Rohr handed Porto fullback Zaidu Sanusi and Midtjylland midfield trojan Frank Onyeka their Super Eagles debut.
Sanusi started ahead of Jamilu Collins while Onyeka took up the defensive midfield position in place of the injured Wilfred Ndidi.
Head coach Rohr went for the central defensive pairing of William Troost-Ekong and Leon Balogun, as Tyronne Ebuehi made his return to the national team on the right side of the defence, after a two-year absence.
Sparta Rotterdam goalkeeper Maduka Okoye got the nod in between the posts to record his first start for the three-time African champions, and he showed strong hands and good positioning throughout the night.
Onuachu led the line for the Eagles, flanked on either side by Samuel Chukwueze and Samuel Kalu, with Alex Iwobi just behind the trio upfront.
Still, it was not enough as Nigeria suffered a narrow loss to the Fennecs on Friday night.
Algeria dominated most of the early possession, dictating play and winning several corner kicks. And they were rewarded for their quick start.
The Super Eagles, though, grew into the game with Sanusi, Kalu, Iwobi, and Onuachu showing neat touches, but the team could just not fashion out a goal to punish the champions.
Even the introduction of Kelechi Iheanacho, Ahmed Musa, and Simon Moses in the second half failed to inspire the Nigerian attack to produce the equalizer.
The defeat is Nigeria’s first since losing to the same opponent at the semifinals of the African Cup of Nations in Egypt last year.
Nigeria had since sclaimed victory over Tunisia, Lesotho, and the Benin Republic while earning credible draws against Brazil and Ukraine.
Algeria, however, extend their unbeaten run to 19 matches, which now include two victories over their illustrious West African brothers.