• Analysis

Match Preview: Algeria vs Nigeria

Nigeria v Argentina: Group D - 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia
Getty Images

It is Algeria against Nigeria in the second semi-final of the 2019 AFCON tonight, as the game is scheduled for 21:00 (CET).

The Nigeria National Team has qualified for yet another Africa Cup of Nations semi-final, thanks to William Troost-Ekong’s winner in the dying moments of the game against South Africa.

They will face the most pleasant surprise at the competition so far – Algeria at the Cairo International Stadium for the place in the final.

Algeria knocked out the Ivory Coast in the quarter-finals and also defeated Senegal in the group stage, showing they are back in business after failing to qualify for the 2018 FIFA World Cup last year.

Team news

Algeria right back Youcef Atal, who picked up a shoulder injury in the previous round is a major doubt for Djamel Belmadi ahead of the game against Nigeria.

All eyes will be on Manchester City’s winger Riyad Mahrez, who is Algeria’s best player at the moment, but also keep an eye on Adam Ounas who has noted three goals and one assist at the competition so far.

Nigeria captain John Obi Mikel is expected to return to the starting line up after missing the previous two games due to an injury sustained in the 2-0 defeat to Madagascar.

Shehu Abdullahi should also be available for selection, after missing the quarter-finals against South Africa due to a hamstring injury.

What did the managers say

Algeria head coach Djamel Belmadi says he wants to write history for Algerian football at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations.

“The one that we won was in 1990, a long time ago when it was at home. We’ve never won since. This is away from home, it’s more difficult, of course,” Belmadi said via Yahoo.

“This is our target, we want to write our history and the players want to write their history as well.

“It’s not far — two more steps, but two very difficult steps to this great achievement. We will try our best.”

German coach in charge of the Nigeria National Team, Gernot Rohr believes the Super Eagles are not the favorites to win the 2019 AFCON.

“When you beat the favorites, you are also one of the favorites. That was my opinion and it is still my opinion,” Rohr said via Goal.

“Now we have beaten one of the favorites, but we have to play a team which everybody here believes were the best in the group stage. So they are still favorites while we are the second favorites.

“The four teams remaining are the best teams of the tournament Senegal are number one in Africa, Tunisia are number two and we are number three. We are all here and Algeria is playing so well.”


Nigeria’s record at the Africa Cup of Nations is pretty impressive. The Super Eagles have qualified for the AFCON semi-finals for the 15th time in 18 appearances at the competition.

They will be looking to book their place in their eighth AFCON Final, having won the title on three previous occasions, including the last time they played at the competition back in 2013.

Algeria, on the other side, will be looking to reach their first Africa Cup of Nations Final since 1990.

They won their first and only AFCON title back then, defeating no other than Nigeria in the final on home soil.

It is Algeria’s last win against the Super Eagles, as they only managed to get two draws in eight games against Nigeria since then.