Best Odds: 21/10
Two nations who now have their sights set on securing a bronze medal at this year’s African Cup of Nations, Tunisia and Nigeria will meet in Cairo on Wednesday night.
Starting with Tunisia, after suffering late heartbreak against Senegal last weekend, there is no doubt that the Eagles of Carthage will be looking for an immediate response on Wednesday. With both sides missing penalties within 90 minutes, Dylan Bronn’s extra-time own goal saw Alain Giresse’s side miss out on the final of this year’s African Cup of Nations. While the Whites may have gone one step further than their exploits out in Gabon two years ago, Tunisia have flattered to deceive in Egypt this summer. With Giresse’s defensive based tactics coming under heavy scrutiny by fans in North Africa, they have now drawn five of their six matches at this year’s AFCON and their form in the final third is becoming a growing concern. Aside from a routine 3-0 win over debutants Madagascar in the quarter-finals, Tunisia could only manage two shots against Senegal and are a nation in desperate need of some firepower.
The only slight concern for the Eagles is attacker Youssef Msakni, who was replaced at half-time in their defeat to Senegal. However, he should be fit to start for Tunisia on Wednesday.
As for Nigeria, also suffering late heartbreak in Cairo last weekend, the Super Eagles find themselves in an almost identical position to their opponents on Wednesday. With Manchester City winger Riyad Mahrez scoring a 90th-minute winner and stopping the two-time African champions reaching another final, Head Coach Gernot Rohr has seen his side win four of their six matches so far in the tournament. One man to watch for the Super Eagles in midweek will be former Watford striker, Odion Ighalo. Once again converting from the spot in the semi-finals, the 33-year-old has bagged four goals so far this summer and sits one goal clear in the race for the Golden Boot. Although Nigeria might be continuing to find the net on a regular rate at this year’s African Cup of Nations, there still remains some defensive issues in the Greens’ camp. Shipping a pair of goals against Algeria last weekend, the former Bordeaux boss has seen his side fail to record a single clean sheet in any of their last four appearances.
Nigeria may look to freshen up the tired legs which battled until the very end against Algeria, with Ferjani Sassi and midfielder Marc Lamti the likely replacements for the Super Eagles.
Key Factors to Consider
- The last three matches between Nigeria and Tunisia have finished in a draw.
- Out of the previous 13 matches between the two nations, Nigeria have recorded four wins, one more than Tunisia’s tally.
- Nigeria striker Odion Ighalo has four AFCON goals this summer, he sits one goal clear in the race for the Golden Boot.
- Eight of Tunisia’s last 10 matches across all competitions have produced under 2.5 goals at full-time.
With both sides suffering late heartbreak in Cairo last weekend, both Tunisia and Nigeria will know they must put their issues behind them if they intend to leave Egypt with a bronze medal on Wednesday. However, with the last three meetings between the two nations finishing in a draw after 90 minutes, we’re backing this contest to reach extra-time in midweek.
Best Odds: 21/10
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