Nigeria are flaunting some fresh pleasant memories of recent victories and decent results against Algeria, heading into this Sunday’s semi-final clash between both countries at the Africa Cup of Nations.
In their most recent face-off, Nigeria’s Super Eagles defeated Algeria’s Fennecs 3-1 in Uyo, during the first leg of their 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifiers, before scoring first and were held to a 1-1 draw in the reverse fixture that was played in Constantine.
However, the result of that game was overturned and the North Africans were awarded a 3-0 win, after FIFA punished Nigeria for fielding Shehu Abdullahi, who was ineligible due to accumulated yellow cards.
That game was the most recent battle between both countries, and it now sets the stage for a rematch of sort, in which the Eagles will be out to confirm their domination over the country that stopped Nigeria from going to the 1982 World Cup in Spain.
On the other hand, Algeria will love to go back in time, with historical references to how they often formed a clog in the wheel for Nigeria’s aspirations on the soccer pitch.
In head-to-head terms, Nigeria and Algeria have met in 19 matches, with the Eagles claiming nine wins compared to seven for The Fennec Foxes, while three games have been drawn.
Their last AFCON match saw Nigeria win 1-0 in the third-place game of the 2010 edition in Angola.
Algeria are appearing in their first semi-final since then and are looking to return to the final for the first time since their only AFCON triumph in 1990, while Nigeria’s last Nations Cup semi appearance was in South Africa in 2013 – when they went on to win the tournament.
The complete AFCON head-to-head between both sides are: March 22, 1980 final in Lagos, Nigeria; Nigeria 3 – Algeria 0; March 10, 1982 – group stage in Benghazi, Libya; Algeria 2 – Nigeria 1; and March 11, 1984 – group tie in Bouake, Cote d’Ivoire; Algeria 0 – Nigeria 0.
Others are March 23, 1988 – semi-final in Rabat, Morocco; Nigeria 1 – Algeria 1 (the Super Eagles eventually won the game after marathon 9-8 penalties); March 2, 1990 – group stage in Algiers, Algeria; Algeria 5 – Nigeria 1; March 16, 1990 – final match in Algiers, Algeria; Algeria 1 – Nigeria 0; January 21, 2002 – group stage in Bamako, Mali; Nigeria 1 – Algeria 0; and January 30, 2010 – 3rd place tie in Benguela, Angola; Nigeria 1 – Algeria 0.
Incidentally, Nigeria’s victory over South Africa on Wednesday took Eagles’ coach, Gernot Rohr’s log with the team to 20 wins in 34 matches.
He has drawn five and lost nine, the first of which was against South Africa in 2017, but has high expectations of helping Nigeria get a fourth conquest of Africa’s biggest and most prestigious football championship.