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Super Eagles land in Oran, ready for ‘real’ battle with Algeria

By Christian Okpara
27 September 2022   |   2:39 am
The day for the Super Eagles’ real battle against the Fennecs of Algeria is here. Last week, Nigeria held Algeria’s home-based team to a 2-2 draw in a game originally meant for the Super Eagles B team.

[FILES] Super Eagles training in Constantine ahead of international friendlies against Algeria on Saturday and Tuesday.

The day for the Super Eagles’ real battle against the Fennecs of Algeria is here. Last week, Nigeria held Algeria’s home-based team to a 2-2 draw in a game originally meant for the Super Eagles B team.

The excuse for Nigeria’s inability to beat Algeria’s home-based team was that the Super Eagles just arrived in the North African country and were, therefore, not ready for the game. But after more than one week in Algeria, the Eagles are expected to be better prepared for the North Africans.

Yesterday, the Super Eagles arrived in Oran, the venue of today’s game, from Constantine, where they have been camped for the past week.

In the first game against Algeria, Alex Iwobi and Cyriel Dessers scored for Nigeria, but they are set for a bigger battle as today’s opponents are of higher pedigree.

The team will be without vice-captain, William Troost-Ekong and key defensive midfielder, Wilfred Ndidi, who have been ruled out by injury; but their absence offers an opportunity for other players to lay claim to first-team positions. Team captain Ahmed Musa and forwards Henry Onyekuru and Samuel Chukwueze are the others knocked out by injuries.

The Super Eagles have lost their last two games against Algeria and will want to correct the impression in some quarters that the Desert Foxes are the superior team.

The game will kick off at the Miloud Hadefi Stadium, Oran by 8.00 p.m. Nigerian time.

Today’s clash will be only the third-ever friendly match between the Fennecs and the Super Eagles, with the two-time African champions edging a clash in Austria in October 2020 by the odd goal.

When both teams clashed in a 2006 FIFA World Cup qualifying match in Oran in September 2005, the Super Eagles ran out 5-2 winners.

Meanwhile, Algeria defender, Abdelkader Bedrane, who sustained an injury against Syli Nationale of Guinea in a friendly on Friday, has been ruled out of the game.

The 30-year-old sprained his ankle in the encounter played at the Miloud Hadefi Stadium, Oran.

The centre-back has returned to his Saudi Arabia Professional Football League outfit, Damac as a result of the setback.

Bedrane, who has been capped 10 times by two-time African champions, was part of the team that won the FIFA Arab Cup in 2021.

Looking forward to an interesting game today, Algeria’s coach, Djamel Belmadi, has confessed that the Desert Foxes have respect for the Super Eagles.

Belmadi is expected to blood some new players in the game against Nigeria, as he did against Guinea in the absence of Riyad Mahrez, Youcef Belaili and Aissa Mandi were only named amongst the substitutes.

But he has promised to field a strong and competitive team against Nigeria.

“Nigeria is another game. We will try to get the whole group to play. The next game there will be more connection in our game because there will be players who are used to being there,” Belmadi said.

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