The Super Eagles of Nigeria will attempt to do the double over Libya when they travel to the Taieb Mhiri Stadium in Sfax, Tunisia for the reverse fixture of their 2019 Africa Cup of Nations Group E qualifier. The West Africans claimed an emphatic and commanding win in the first encounter played at the Godswill Akpabio Stadium in Uyo. Barring any unforeseen circumstances, the Super Eagles should complete the double on Tuesday.
The Mediterranean Knights of Libya were quite disappointing in the humiliating 4-0 defeat to Nigeria in Uyo. The fixture was totally one-sided as the North Africans were thoroughly outclassed by the Super Eagles.
The preparation of the Libyans leading to the match against Nigeria in Uyo was plagued by lots of problems with manager Adel Amrouche throwing-in the towel just days before the clash. The defeat in Uyo means the North African team have now dropped to third in Group E with four points, three behind leaders South Africa.
The Interim manager Omar Al Maryami will have the opportunity to tinker with his team ahead of the reverse fixture against the Super Eagles of Nigeria in Sfax, Tunisia on Tuesday. Muaid Ellafi and Mohamed Zaabia could come in for Ismael Tajouri-Shradi and Mohamed Anis Saltou, both of whom were highly disappointing in Uyo.
Gernot Rohr, The Super Eagles manager will likely retain the bulk of the starting line-up in the first match in Uyo, hattrick hero Odion Ighalo and the impressive Samuel Kalu will likely lead the attack for Nigeria with Alex Iwobi playing the number 10 role just behind the duo.
Nigeria’s quest to qualify for Cameroon will receive a massive boost if the Super Eagles can earn a third successive win, and it will be only the second time it would happen during Gernot Rohr’s managerial career with the West Africans.
The Nigerian team have bounced back from their opening shock home defeat against South Africa, carrying on their post-World Cup momentum to earn consecutive wins against Seychelles and Libya which moves them into the second position in Group E.
A third straight victory for the Super Eagles would take Nigeria’s points haul to nine, and open a five-point lead ahead of the third-place Libyans. If the above scenario plays out, it means Nigeria will require just one more victory to seal a qualification spot for the African Nations Cup holding in Cameroon next year.
The Libyans will not go down without putting up a fierce challenge in Tunisia. Despite the game technically being a home tie for the Mediterranean Knights, civil unrest in Libya has forced the Confederation of Africa Football (CAF) to move the fixture to Sfax, a situation which means both teams are playing on a neutral ground.
Despite sitting as group leaders at the start of matchday three on four points, a 4-0 defeat in Nigeria means the Libyans have dropped to the third position in the group, and their qualification hopes will severely be dented if they fail to win against Nigeria on Tuesday.
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Injury and suspensions will deny both Nigeria and Libya the availability of key players, which is a blow for both teams.
Abdullahi Shehu continues his injury battles this season, the latest setback being a thigh muscle injury sustained inside the opening 20 minutes against Libya at the Godswill Akpabio Stadium on Saturday.
The Bursaspor player, who has been a consistent and important member of the Super Eagles team since his debut three years ago, sits out the second game in three matches in the qualifying campaign due to recurring injuries.
Ola Aina, who came in for Shehu on Saturday, is expected to earn his second international start for Nigeria barring any last-minute unforeseen circumstances, as he slots in at right-back.
For their part, Libya is expected to be without the experienced duo of Muhammad Nashnoush and left-back Ahmed Al-Maghasi after both players received their second bookings of the qualifiers in Uyo.
Despite conceding four goals, Nashnoush, 30, who doubles as captain of his side, will be a big miss for the Mediterranean Knights and should be replaced in goal by Ahmed Azzaqeh.
Libya Possible Starting Lineup:
Ahmed Azzaqeh, Muaid Ellafi, Motasem Sabbou, Sanad Al-Warfali, Ismael Tajouri-Shradi, Ahmad Benali, Badr Hassan, Mohammed El-Monir, Ahmed El Trbi, Almoatasembellah Ali Mohamed, Anis Mohamed Saltou
Nigeria Possible Starting Lineup:
Francis Uzoho, Ola Aina, Collins Jamilu, William Troost-Ekong, Leon Balogun; Oghenekaro Etebo, Wilfred Ndidi, Alex Iwobi, Ahmed Musa, Samuel Kalu, Odion Ighalo
Head To Head
Last Saturday’s clash was the third ever meeting between Nigeria and Libya. The Super Eagles have won all three matches against their North African counterparts, keeping clean sheets in each of those fixtures.
AFRICA CUP OF NATIONS 2019
Nigeria Libya 4:0
AFRICAN NATIONS CHAMPIONSHIP 2018
Libya Nigeria 0:1
FRIENDLY INTERNATIONAL 2005
Libya Nigeria 0:1
This match will be played at a neutral venue as FIFA have banned international matches in Libyan stadiums since 2013 due to the deteriorating security situation in the country.
We expect a very close contest with few goal-scoring opportunities at both ends. Libya is desperate for a victory to stay in contention for AFCON 2019 qualification, hence the Libyans will not lay low and allow the Super Eagles to have their wish on a platter of gold.
Tuesday’s clash looks set to play into the hands of Nigeria who can take advantage of the numerous issues around the hosts to complete the double. Our prediction is a 1-0 victory for Nigeria.
Kick Off Time And TV Station
The Mediterranean Knights of Libya and The Super Eagles of Nigeria Group E 2019 AFCON qualification match will take place at the Stade Taieb Mhiri in the Tunisian city of Sfax, on Tuesday, October 16, 2019. Kick off time is 7 pm Nigerian time. The match will be shown live on DStv SuperSport 3 and GOtv SuperSport Select 2.