AFCON 2019 Preview: Nigeria Vs Algeria

Chidi Nwoke, Abuja


The Super Eagles of Nigeria and the Desert Foxes of Algeria are gearing up for a titanic clash in Sunday’s Africa Cup of Nations semi-final tie at the ongoing Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt.

Many are already predicting an explosive match between these two teams going by the intense rivalry spanning over 45 years.

Three-time champions Nigeria are looking for their fourth title, while the Algerians are looking for their second AFCON title.

Recently, in 2017, Nigeria stopped Algeria from qualifying for the FIFA World Cup, as they bashed the Foxes 3-1 in Uyo.

Nigeria tied the second leg 1-1 in Constantine before FIFA awarded the match to Algeria. This was after the Eagles fielded an ineligible defender, Abdullahi Shehu.

Head to head
Fri 10/11/17 WQA Algeria 1 – 1 Nigeria

Sat 12/11/16 WQA Nigeria 3 – 1 Algeria

Sat 30/01/10 ACO Nigeria 1 – 0 Algeria

Sat 03/09/05 WQA Algeria 2 – 5 Nigeria

Fri 02/07/04 WQA Nigeria 1 – 0 Algeria

Statistics in AFCON 2019

Nigeria                      Algeria
Attempts on Target                                     23                            20
Corner Kicks                                               30                            31
Distance Covered [Km]                               526                          498
Fouls Committed                                         110                          92
Yellow Cards                                                 7                             4
Goals Scored                                                10                            7
Goals Conceded                                             1                             5

The statistics indicate that the Algerians have a tight defence – with the only goal, they have conceded coming in the quarter-final encounter against Cote d’Ivoire.

Meanwhile, the Nigerians have conceded a goal per match on the average.

Current Form

Nigeria [-W-W-L-W-W]

Algeria [W-W-W-W-W]

Algeria captain Riyad Mahrez believes his team are facing one of the tournament favourites when they meet Nigeria in the semi-final of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations on Sunday.

The North Africans have been impressive in the biennial tournament to reach the last four of the competition for the first time since 2010.

The Desert Foxes finished as Group C leaders without dropping a point, and saw off Guinea in the Round of 16. Algeria then secured a hard-fought victory over two-time African champions Ivory Coast via a penalty shoot-out in the quarter-final.

“We have won a lot of games, that of Ivory Coast is the only one where we went until the penalty shootout. This drives us to be optimistic. We will give it our all against Nigeria,” Mahrez said.

“It’s true that Nigeria is a very tough opponent. They are one of the favourites of this competition. Nigeria are always playing the leading role in the African Cup.”

Riyad Mahrez has scored two goals for the Desert Foxes in the tournament and insists the game with the Super Eagles will be difficult, but he is hopeful his side can claim victory in the encounter.

“The people trust us, we will do our best not to disappoint them. The match will be difficult for both teams and we hope to qualify for the final,” he added.

Algeria have won the continental tournament once in 1990 as host nation, defeating the Super Eagles in the final in front of their home fans.

Nigeria forward Odion Ighalo believes they are up to the challenge against Algeria in the semi-final of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations.

The Super Eagles are set to make their 14th appearance in the last four stage – the most by any team – at the Cairo International Stadium on Sunday.

Ighalo, who is currently the joint-top scorer in the tournament, believes they need to take their chances, and avoid mistakes against Djamel Belmadi’s side who have conceded just one goal so far in Egypt.

Odion Ighalo

“We are happy we are in semi-finals now, it was difficult from the first game until against South Africa but it is how the tournament is in Africa,” Ighalo said.

“It is getting better so we are working together and we are looking forward to the next game against Algeria it will be very difficult but I think our team has good mentality and fighting spirit and physically well prepared.”

“It will be a difficult game because Algeria is a very organised and compact team but I think we have ability to win.”

“We have good players and we can attack and defend well just to go with this and make no mistakes because they are a very quick and offensive team,” he added.

“We need more hard work, defend well, take our chances and score goals.”


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