Though fatigued after taking the highly-rated Ivory Coast all the way to penalties, Algeria (FIFA rank: #68) must now best another side ranked higher than themselves (the #45-ranked Nigeria) in order to reach their first Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) final since beating the same nation 1-0 back in 1990.
Impressively, Algeria are one of just two teams in this AFCON finals yet to taste defeat inside 90 minutes (W4, D1). All four 90-minute victories came without Algeria conceding a goal, with the Ivory Coast being the first to strike a blow upon the ‘Desert Warriors’, equalising after the hour mark last time out.
Nigeria, meanwhile, have reached at least the semi-final stage in 12 of their last 13 AFCON appearances, although they ended up finishing third in four of the last six campaigns. Four of Nigeria’s last five semi-final appearances saw them knocked out after conceding exactly one goal in 90 minutes.
The Super Eagles’ coach, Gernot Rohr, has won two of three encounters with Algeria (W2, L1), with all matches seeing over 2.5 total goals. However, that is somewhat contradicted by the fact that each of the last three H2Hs in any AFCON finals have ended 1-0, though two of the wins have been Nigeria’s.
Players to watch: Algeria star Adam Ounas, and Nigeria hitman Odion Ighalo are both targeting the Golden Boot with three goals apiece. Both men last scored in the second half of the Round-of-16.
Stat attack: Algeria are the only remaining side that have not failed to score in 90 minutes during this AFCON finals.
Two of the last three AFCON finals H2Hs have produced a 1-0 half-time scoreline.
Algeria have received exactly two bookings in three of their last four matches.
Nigeria are averaging 6.2 corners per match at this AFCON finals, and they have had either five or six in each of their last three games.
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