Nigeria will complete their group stage schedule at the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations with a crucial tie against Guinea-Bissau.
The Super Eagles arrive for this clash second in Group A, tied with leaders Equatorial Guinea, with four points from their first two games.
The three-time AFCON winners stumbled to an unsatisfactory 1-1 draw with the Equatoguineans on matchday one before producing a masterclass performance in smash-and-grab to claim a 1-0 win over hosts Cote d’Ivoire.
Nigeria can qualify among the four third-best teams even with a loss against the Bissauguineans.
However, the Super Eagles will be favourites to record a third win in four games against the Djurtus and finish as Group A winners.
After two straight losses in Abidjan, Guinea-Bissau are already out of the tournament and have only pride to fight for against the Nigerians.
The Djurtus fell to a 2-0 defeat to Cote d’Ivoire in the tournament’s opening match, and they had a few things to cheer about in their 4-2 loss to Equatorial Guinea on matchday two.
It was the first time Guinea-Bissau scored two goals in a match at the AFCON, but it was not enough to help them avoid defeat.
The Wild Dogs are yet to carve out a win after 11 attempts at the AFCON, and it would be a historical moment to record such an achievement against Nigeria, three-time champions.
Nigeria, though, will not be in the mood to give out gifts on Monday.
With the Super Eagles boasting an attacking force of Victor Osimhen, Terem Moffi, Kelechi Iheanacho, and Paul Onuachu, it would be a miracle for Guinea-Bissau to escape even with a draw.
Nigeria and Guinea-Bissau are facing each other for the fourth time overall and the second time at the Africa Cup of Nations.
The Super Eagles secured a fine 2-0 win when the two teams met for the first time in the group stage of the 2021 edition.
Interestingly, the two nations were drawn in the same qualifying group for the 2023 AFCON.
Guinea-Bissau won 1-0 in Abuja, while Nigeria recorded a similar lone-goal victory in Bissau as the Super Eagles finished top of the group, as the Djurtus placed second.
Nigeria’s pedigree at the AFCON remains almost peerless.
While the Djurtus are playing their 12th match, Nigeria will take to the pitch for the 100th time at the AFCON, becoming the fourth nation to reach that total after Egypt, Ghana, and Cote d’Ivoire.
Royal Antwerp midfielder Alhassan Yusuf remains unavailable for Nigeria after his injury against Equatorial Guinea.
Zaidu Sanusi is also doubtful after picking a knock in Thursday’s clash with the Ivorians.
Boavista’s Bruno Onyemaechi and Fulham’s Calvin Bassey are available options to coach Jose Peseiro in that left-back role.
Captain William Troost-Ekong trained away from the squad on Friday and Saturday, and he could be rested for the Guinea-Bissau tie.
Troost-Ekong has scored two of Nigeria’s last three AFCON goals, with one of those coming against Guinea-Bissau in 2022, and the PAOK defender would be gutted to miss this one.
Peseiro can call on Chidozie Awaziem and Kenneth Omeruo in his stead, with the former AFCON winner playing the last few minutes against Cote d’Ivoire.
Iheanacho could make his first appearance as the Leicester City star looks to prove his fitness ahead of stiffer challenges in the knockout rounds.
Aside from that, the Super Eagles have little trouble in attack as Osimhen can pair with any of Moffi or Lookman to unleash fury against the Djurtus.
Nigeria (4-4-2): Nwabali, Aina, Ajayi, Omeruo, Bassey; Onyeka, Iwobi, Lookman, Chukwueze; Moffi, Osimhen
Coach: Jose Peseiro
Guinea-Bissau (4-3-3): Djoco; Encada, Djalo, Mane, Cande; Semedo, Bikel, Cassama; Rodrigues, Balde, Ze Turbo
Coach: Baciro Candé
Competition: CAF Africa Cup of Nations
Match: Guinea-Bissau v Nigeria
Venue: Stade Félix Houphouët-Boigny (Abidjan)
Date: January 22, 2024
Kickoff time: 6 pm (Nigerian time)
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