The Super Eagles and the Desert Foxes of Algeria will clash in a friendly tie at the Miloud Hadefi Olympic Complex in Oran on Tuesday (today), PUNCH Sports Extra reports.
The two former African champions lock horns in a battle of World Cup absentees.
The two teams are now fully focused on qualification for the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations, after missing out on tickets to the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
Algeria and Nigeria reached the final knockout round for the Mundial, before Cameroon pipped the Desert Foxes and Ghana edged the Super Eagles to the World Cup slots, both ties on aggregate.
Ahead of Tuesday’s game, Algeria defeated Guinea 1-0 in Oran on Friday, while Nigeria managed a 2-2 draw with the home-based Algerian team in Constantine same day.
That win is the Foxes’ fourth on the trot, and they will be full of confidence in front of their boisterous home crowd against a Nigerian side looking for their third win under Portuguese coach Jose Peseiro.
There have been 21 meetings between Nigeria and Algeria, with either side winning nine apiece, aside three draws.
The last draw, though, was in 1993 – nearly 30 years ago – and Nigeria have won six of the nine games since.
Algeria, however, have recent momentum on their side, winning the last two matches against the Eagles. The Foxes pipped the Eagles in the 2019 AFCON semi-final before going on to win the competition and also in a 2020 friendly in Austria.
Injuries to key players ensured Nigeria arrived in Algeria without the influential attacking duo Napoli’s Victor Osimhen and Real Sociedad’s Umar Sadiq.
Also in Constantine, midfielder Wilfred Ndidi and stand-in captain William Troost-Ekong were forced to quit camp due to injuries.
But coach Jose Peseiro can still put up a respectably solid team and now has to pick between the attacking talents of Kelechi Iheanacho, Taiwo Awoniyi, Cyriel Dessers, and in-form Lorient star Terem Moffi for his customary two-man attack.
The Foxes are typically difficult to beat, especially in front of their vociferous supporters. Before their extra-time defeat to Cameroon in March, they had not tasted defeat on home soil in four years.
Place that besides a Super Eagles without their best stars and with only one win in their last 16 friendly matches, and it would seem the odds are stacked against the Eagles.
However, with an in-form Alex Iwobi, who has been nominated for September’s EPL Player of The Month, and also won the Man-of-The-Match award after his performance in the Toffees first win of the season against West Ham penultimate weekend, there is cause for optimism and with one or two newcomers showing quality, the Eagles can hope to end the Foxes reign.
The game will kick off at 8pm Nigerian time.