… as Eagles seek end to Foxes dominance
*Nigeria not small team – Belmadi
In-form Alex Iwobi is set for his 60th appearance for the Super Eagles when they face the Foxes in an international friendly at the Miloud Hadefi Olympic Complex on Tuesday (today), PUNCH Sports Extra reports.
The 26-year-old, who is expected to pull the strings from midfield for the Eagles in the encounter, made his debut for the Eagles when he came on in the 57th minute for Ahmed Musa in the team’s 2-0 loss to DR Congo in a friendly in Belgium in 2015.
Ever since, the Everton star has played 24 international friendlies, 14 Africa Nations Cup qualifiers, 11 AFCON games, seven World Cup qualifiers and three World Cup games for the three-time African champions.
He was on target for the Eagles in their 2-2 draw against Algeria’s B team in a closed-door game in Constantine last Friday. It was his 10th goal for the team.
Meanwhile, the Eagles are seeking to end the Foxes’ five-year dominance. Djamel Belmadi’s side has emerged winners in their last three meetings, scoring six goals and conceding once since a 3-1 loss to the Eagles in November 2016 in Uyo.
Jose Peseiro’s side face a tough test against the 2019 AFCON winners, who have picked up the pieces since their World Cup qualifying heartbreak back in March, when they were beaten on the away-goal rule by Cameroon following a 2-2 aggregate draw.
The Foxes are aiming to record their fifth straight win across all competitions, while the Eagles will look to return to winning ways, following their 2-2 draw against Algeria’s B team.
Both teams have met 21 times, with either side winning nine apiece aside from three draws.
Injuries to key players ensured Nigeria arrived in Algeria without strikers Napoli’s Victor Osimhen and Real Sociedad’s Umar Sadiq.
Midfielder Wilfred Ndidi and stand-in captain William Troost-Ekong were forced to leave camp due to injuries, after arriving Constantine.
But Peseiro can still put up a respectably solid team blessed with the attacking talents of Kelechi Iheanacho, Taiwo Awoniyi, Cyriel Dessers, and in-form Lorient star Terem Moffi.
Speaking ahead of the game, Algeria coach Belmadi says he has total respect for the Eagles and will field a strong team for the game.
“Nigeria is another game,” Belmadi said ahead of the encounter.
“We will try to get the whole group to play. In the next game, there will be more connections because there will be players who are used to being there.
“You need rhythm to have a smoother game. We have a good opposition. It’s not a small team.”