Nigeria vs Algeria: Desert Foxes capable of wreaking havoc on Super Eagles

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Riyad Mahrez Algeria 2022
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GOAL highlights a few Fennecs that can do damage to the West Africans in Tuesday's meeting in Oran

Nigeria have had an underwhelming 2022, evidenced by a disappointing Africa Cup of Nations and their inability to make the forthcoming World Cup in Qatar.

Their Algeria friendly is far from preparatory for the finals but equally important for Jose Peseiro who only took the reins in May.

The Super Eagles trainer is still adapting to his players, so Tuesday’s meeting could foster that development away from the pressure of winning games with Afcon qualifiers to return in 2023.

  1. Algeria’s threats

    Algeria’s threats

    The last two meetings between the nations have ended in success for the North Africans, who defeated Nigeria in the semi-finals of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations before triumphing in a friendly two years ago.

    In this feature, GOAL focuses on some of the players on Djamel Belmadi’s roster that the West Africans must contain in Oran.

  2. Ramy Bensebaini

    Ramy Bensebaini

    Bensebaini’s forward forays make him a threat in the attacking phase from open play and set pieces. 

    The left-back’s combinations with the designated winger on his flank mean the Algerians pose a danger on both flanks. 

    Bensebaini’s strength in duels shows the Borussia Monchengladbach’s manner in not shirking defensive responsibilities despite his inclination to make an offensive impact.  

  3. Ismael Bennacer

    Ismael Bennacer

    Bennacer’s injury problems are far behind him these days and the AC Milan midfielder has largely looked to be returning to his best in the last few months. 

    The Milan man not only possesses the ability to carry the ball aggressively away from pressure but also has the eye for passes that potentially open up the pitch. 

    Belmadi’s crew will be beneficiaries of the rounded midfielder’s ability and his potential duel with Alex Iwobi ought to fascinate observers. 

  4. Youcef Belaili

    Youcef Belaili

    The expected menace of Algeria down the left flank with Bensebaini and Belaili ought to trouble Nigeria in theory. 

    Belaili often starts on the touchline before drifting in-field while the Gladbach wide defender underlaps. 

    The pair dovetailing can potentially disturb the Super Eagles’ right side and Stade Brest winger's dribbling ability adds to the threat he carries. 

  5. Islam Slimani
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    Islam Slimani

    While there might be a preference for Andy Delort, the 34-year-old Slimani continues to prove his usefulness to Belmadi. 

    The former Leicester City striker came off the bench to score the only goal in Algeria’s 1-0 success over Guinea — eight minutes after replacing Delort —possibly earning a start on Tuesday. 

    Slimani’s smashed left-footed shot into the top left corner was well taken and showed his adeptness at converting low-percentage chances. 

  6. Riyad Mahrez

    Riyad Mahrez

    The Manchester City man has not had the best start to the 2022-23 season but remains Algeria’s most dependable match-winner. 

    Mahrez assisted Slimani’s goal against Guinea, picking out the forward with a lateral pass that led to a cracking finish. 

    On his day, the wide attacker carries a threat in open play and from set-pieces, possessing the creativity to open up the Nigeria defence and match-winning quality to score goals from nothing.