Ivory Coast and Nigeria are poised for a pivotal clash in the Africa Cup of Nations group stage.
In their opening game in Abidjan, the host nation, Ivory Coast, showcased their prowess with a commanding 2-0 victory over Guinea-Bissau. Seko Fofana’s early goal and Jean-Philippe Krasso’s second-half effort secured the win, dispelling any pre-AFCON nerves.
On the flip side, Nigeria faced a setback in their Group A opener, settling for a frustrating 1-1 draw against giant-killers Equatorial Guinea. Dealing with injuries to key players like Victor Boniface and Wilfred Ndidi before the tournament, the Super Eagles needed a quick-fire equalizer from star striker Victor Osimhen to salvage a point.
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Kick Off Date & Time, Venue:
The upcoming match between Ivory Coast and Nigeria is set for a 5 pm GMT kick-off on Thursday, January 18, 2024, at the Alassane Ouattara Stadium, also known as the Olympic Stadium of Ebimpe, in Abidjan.
Both teams face concerns in terms of player availability. Ivory Coast missed the services of Sebastien Haller and Simon Adingra in their opener, with doubts lingering over their availability against Nigeria.
Meanwhile, Nigeria coped with the absence of key players like Taiwo Awoniyi and Sadiq Umar, the latter causing confusion by returning to training with Real Sociedad despite being ruled out of AFCON.
Injury concerns have prompted changes in both teams’ lineups. Alhassan Yusuf stepped in for Ndidi in Nigeria’s opener, delivering a strong debut cut short by injury. With late arrivals Kelechi Iheanacho and Paul Onuachu on the bench, and Terem Moffi set to return, Nigeria aims to bolster its lineup for the crucial encounter.
Head to Head History:
The head-to-head history slightly favors Ivory Coast, having won the last two meetings between the nations in 2015 and the 2013 African Nations Championship. Ivory Coast boasts 9 wins compared to Nigeria’s 8, with 10 draws.
Potential Starting XI:
– GK: Nwabili
– DF: Ola Aina, Troost Ekong, Ajayi, and Onyemaechi
– MID: Frank Onyeka, Yusuf, Iwobi
– FOR: Lookman, Osimhen, Simon.