Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Nigeria vs. Sao Tome: 2023 Africa Cup of Nations Qualifiers Preview

by Hashim
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As the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers enter their decisive stages, Nigeria and Sao Tome & Principe are set to clash in a Group A showdown at the Godswill Akpabio International Stadium on September 10, 2023, at 5 pm time, MySportDab reports.

Having secured their spot in the 2023 AFCON with a dramatic 3-2 win over Sierra Leone in June, the Super Eagles have showcased their resilience and determination throughout the qualifiers.

Despite falling two goals behind in that crucial match, they mounted a stunning comeback, ultimately winning with a late strike from Kelechi Iheanacho.

This victory marked their triumph over adversity and exemplified their determination to secure their place in Ivory Coast for the tournament.

In the qualifiers, Nigeria has been in fine form, winning four of their five matches. Their only setback was a narrow 1-0 loss to Guinea-Bissau, demonstrating their overall dominance in the group.

The Super Eagles, looking to capture their fourth Africa Cup of Nations title and their first since 2013, have consistently showcased their prowess on the field.

Nigeria’s recent resurgence in form is highlighted by their victory over Guinea-Bissau, where Moses Simon’s first-half penalty secured a vital win.

This result ended a run of five consecutive defeats in all competitions, instilling renewed confidence in the team as they march towards the continental championship.

The Super Eagles are firmly atop Group A with a seven-point cushion over third-placed Sierra Leone, making them one of the first teams to secure their spot in the 2023 AFCON.

Their mission now is to finish the group stage in style and build momentum for the tournament.

Meanwhile, Sao Tome & Principe’s journey in this qualifying campaign has been a challenging one.

They currently find themselves at the bottom of Group A, with only a single draw to their name, which came in a thrilling 2-2 encounter against Sierra Leone.

Adriano Eusebio’s men have struggled defensively, conceding a staggering 20 goals in their five matches. This defensive frailty has been the primary factor contributing to their difficult campaign.

The Selecao head into this match without a win in their last 17 games across all competitions, underlining the extent of their recent struggles.

Their last victory dates back to March 2016 when they triumphed over Libya in the AFCON qualifiers. Sao Tome & Principe will be eager to put an end to their winless streak and finish their qualifying journey on a positive note.

In terms of form, Nigeria’s track record in the Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers stands at WWLWW, while their overall form across all competitions shows marked improvement, with LLLWW.

On the other hand, Sao Tome & Principe’s form in the AFCON qualifiers is LLDLL, and their overall form mirrors their struggles, with LLLDLL.

As we delve into the team news, Nigeria has called up a strong squad of 23 players, featuring star names like Victor Osimhen, Kelechi Iheanacho, Wilfred Ndidi, and captain William Troost-Ekong.

Taiwo Awoniyi, in impressive form with a goal involvement in each of his last eight Premier League games, also earned a spot in the team.

However, Ahmed Musa, Nigeria’s most-capped player, and other high-profile names like Zaidu Sanusi and Alex Iwobi have been omitted.

The Super Eagles will also introduce some fresh faces, including centre-back Jordan Torunarigha and attacking talents Victor Boniface and Gift Orban, who could make their debuts.

On the Sao Tome & Principe side, coach Adriano Eusebio has named a 21-man squad, featuring key players like goalkeeper Pedro Mateus, midfielder Denilson Silva, and veteran striker Luis Leal, who is the Selecao’s all-time leading scorer.

Leal is expected to lead the attack alongside Ebanilson Viegas and Marcos Barbeiro.

The possible starting lineups for the match are as follows:

Nigeria: Uzhoho; Aina, Troost-Ekong, Ajayi, Bassey; Onyeka, Ndidi, Aribo; Chukwueze, Iheanacho, Osimhen

Sao Tome & Principe: Mendes; Fernandes, Varela, Ramos, Soares; Santos, Silva, Selemane; Leal, Viegas, Barbeiro

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