- It is the battle of former African champions
- The Desert Foxes meet the Super Eagles in Oran on Tuesday
Algeria will host Nigeria at the Olympic Stadium in Oran on Tuesday in a repeat of the Africa Cup of Nations semifinal clash at Egypt 2019.
The Desert Foxes won that tie 2-1 on the road to lifting their second-ever AFCON trophy and will target a repeat performance against Jose Peseiro's men.
The Super Eagles, though, are charting a new course under Portuguese manager Peseiro. And a win over another African powerhouse will boost fans' confidence in the 2013 Afcon kings.
Algeria missed out on a World Cup slot after losing 2-1 in extra time to Cameroon on home soil in March in the crucial decider.
Since then, the Desert Foxes have reeled out victories over Uganda, Iran, Tanzania, and Guinea.
Nigeria also missed out on the World Cup party in Qatar, but the West Africans should offer a stiffer opposition than Algeria's last four foes.
The Super Eagles crushed Sao Tome and Principe 10-0 in June, only days after handing a 2-1 defeat to Sierra Leone.
The three-time continental champions were forced to a 2-2 draw with the Algeria B team in a test game on Friday and will aim to go a step further against the senior side.
There is no victor and no vanquished in the games between Algeria and Nigeria. Both teams have each won 9 of the 21 matches played in history, with the other 3 ending in draws.
However, Nigeria's last win over the North Africans was a 3-1 triumph in a World Cup qualifier in 2016. Algeria have won both of the last two meetings.
Algeria, though, won the last two encounters between the two sides, claiming a 1-0 win in a friendly in 2020 following that semifinal victory at Afcon 2019.
Players to watch
Nigeria's two most valuable players, Victor Osimhen and Wilfred Ndidi, will miss this match, aside from several other injury-enforced absentees.
But Everton midfielder Alex Iwobi, who was among the goals on Friday, has the quality to step up and inspire the depleted Eagles past the Foxes.
The former Arsenal man has been one of the best players in the Premier League over the last six months. And it would not surprise many if he is named the EPL's Player of the Month for September, for which he has been nominated.
For inspiration, Algeria will look towards Manchester City forward and two-time Africa Player of the Year winner Riyad Mahrez.
Algeria's probable lineup (4-1-4-1):
Mandréa; Zedadka, Tougai, Bedrane, Touba; Bennacer; Mahrez, Kadri, Zorgane, Brahimi; Benayad.
Nigeria's probable lineup (4-4-2):
Uzoho; Aina, Omeruo, Akpoguma, Bassey; Simon, Iwobi, Onyedika, Ejuke; Dessers, Moffi.
The international match between Algeria and Nigeria will be played at the Olympic Stadium in Oran on Tuesday, September 27. Kickoff time is 8 pm Nigerian time.
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