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Can The Super Eagles Peck Down The Algerian Foxes?

By Tony Ishiekwene

It is going to be a titanic battle in Uyo, Akwa Ibom state as the Nigeria Super Eagles lock horns with the Algerian counterpart.

Historically Nigeria has superior records over the Desert Foxes. Both countries have met in the ball kicking field seventeen times and the Eagles have won the Foxes in Eight (8) of those grudge matches drawing 3 and losing 6. However on FIFA ranking Algeria are the top seed in the World Cup qualifier Africa group B, ortherwise referred to as the group of death- placing second in Africa behind behind Ivory Coast whilst Nigerian Eagles are placed a lowly 11th in African ranking. So according to FIFA placement the "star studded" Algerian team should walk away with a victory over their Nigerian opponent tomorrow.

However all the statistics above count for nothing when both teams lock horns at the Godswill Akpabio stadium in Uyo tomorrow evening. What matters most will be the desire, character and skills put to play during the 90 minutes encounter. On paper the Algerian team appear more experienced, tactical and organised than their Nigerian counterpart. But Nigeria may be able to boast of a younger, more energetic and highly skilled players.

They must not allow the Algerians dictate the pace of the game. That was what Cameroon did successfully during Match day 1 at the "Mustapha Tchaker Stadium" in Algeria to earn an away draw with the Algerians. If you let the talented and very tactical Algerians settle to dictate the pace of the game they can do you serious damage. Ask the Ethiopians whom they beat 7: 1 in their home AFCON qualifier match.

The Nigeria side must play their advantage to the full- use their pace and speed against the Algerians who are a bit more bulky like to play a bit slower than their west African counterpart. If possible keep the ball on the ground as the taller Algerians may win most aerial battles.

The super Eagles must not give away too many Corners and free kicks near their box. The Algerians have better headers of the ball, one of which is the striker Islam Slimani. Our boys must never let them get a free header and jump with them to clear the danger or distract them enough so they don't hit the target.

I believe Nigeria can beat the Algerians easily with their skill and home advantage- the 12th man! They must however stay compact, and all Eleven of them defend as a team, don't give the opponent too much room to play and then use their pace in counter attacks to get the needed goals.

My prediction: Eagles will beat the Algerian margin by a slim margin, possibly 2:1