Thursday, June 13, 2024

Preview: Mozambique vs. Nigeria – prediction, team news, lineups – Sports Mole


Mozambique and Nigeria continue their preparations for the 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifiers when they square off in a friendly showdown at the Estadio Municipal de Albufeira on Monday.
Both sides, who have booked their spot in the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations, will be meeting for the first time since January 2014, when the Super Eagles cruised to a 4-2 victory in the Africa Nations Championship.

Nigeria's Odion Ighalo celebrates scoring their first goal with team mates on July 6, 2019© Reuters
Mozambique were left spitting feathers on Friday as they were held to a 1-1 draw by Angola when the sides locked horns in a friendly matchup at the Estadio Municipal de Albufeira.
Following a goalless first half, the Mambas appeared on course to victory when Sporting Lisbon forward Geny Catamo broke the deadlock in the 70th minute, but Gelson Dala hit back for Angola with five minutes left to play to force a share of the spoils.
Prior to that, Mozambique needed a 95th-minute winner from 29-year-old midfielder Clesio Bauque as they scraped to a 3-2 victory over Benin in the final Group L game of the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers on September 9.
Chiquinho Conde‘s men will be one of 24 nations vying for continental glory in Ivory Coast early next year after picking up 10 points from six matches to finish as runners-up in the group table, five points above third-placed Benin.
Mozambique into Monday unbeaten in six of their last seven matches across all competitions — picking up three wins and three draws — with a 1-0 defeat against Lesotho in the COSAFA Cup on July 10 being the exception.
However, next up for the East African nation is the stern challenge of taking on an opposing side who have won each of their previous three meetings, scoring eight goals and keeping two clean sheets since a goalless draw in March 2009.
Mozambique return to competitive action on November 13 when they take on Botswana in the Group G opener of the 2026 FIFA World Cup, one week before taking on Algeria in the second group outing.
Nigeria's William Troost-Ekong celebrates scoring their second goal against South Africa on July 10, 2019© Reuters
As it ended in their only previous meeting back in May 2010, Nigeria and Saudi Arabia settled for a share of the spoils as they played out a 2-2 draw in a friendly showdown at the Estadio Municipal de Portimao on Friday.
With Victor Osimhen, Ademola Lookman and Samuel Chukwueze all failing to convert their chances in the first half, the Super Eagles found themselves behind on the hour mark when an error from goalkeeper Francis Uzoho gifted Salman Al-Faraj the opening goal.
Nigeria turned the game on its head in an eight-minute spell courtesy of an own goal from Abdulelah Al-Amri and Kelechi Iheanacho’s 81st-minute strike, but substitute Mohamed Kanno restored parity 10 minutes into stoppage time.
Jose Paseiro‘s men were previously on a run of three wins in their final three games of the 2023 AFCON qualifiers, scoring 10 goals and keeping two clean sheets to secure top spot in Group A with 15 points from six matches.
With Friday’s result, Nigeria have now gone 15 consecutive friendly matches without a win, losing nine and picking up six draws since claiming a 1-0 victory over Egypt in March 2019 thanks to an early strike from Paul Onuachu.
The West African powerhouse, who are eyeing a fourth AFCON title and a first since beating Burkina Faso 1-0 in the final back in 2013, have been drawn in Group A of the upcoming continental showpiece alongside Guinea Bissau, Equatorial Guinea and host nation Ivory Coast.
Nigeria, who are currently ranked 40th in the latest FIFA World Rankings, will be looking to return to winning ways on Monday as they ramp up preparations for the 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifiers.
Having failed to reach Qatar last year, Nigeria kick off the quest for a return to the World Cup with a home game against Lesotho in the Group C opener on November 13, one week before taking on Zimbabwe.

Nigeria's Victor Osimhen pictured on July 17, 2019© Reuters
With his opener against Angola, Catamo now has a goal involvement in each of his last four games for Mozambique and the 22-year-old will be one to keep an eye on.
He should form the front three with Covilha man Gildo and Stanley Ratifo, who has three goals in 22 senior appearances, while Amadu and Guima should team up at the centre of the park.
Osimhen was withdrawn with a 60th-minute injury in the game against Saudi Arabia last time out and the 24-year-old striker is a major doubt for Monday’s game.
Off the back of an impressive cameo against the Green Falcons, Iheanacho could replace the injured Napoli man, teaming up with Bayer Leverkusen’s Victor Boniface in the Super Eagles attack.
At the opposite end of the pitch, Maduka Okoye could be trusted in goal by Paseiro on Monday, Bruno Onyemaechi, Calvin Bassey, Semi Ajayi and Tyronne Ebuehi retaining their roles in the back four.

Mozambique possible starting lineup:
Fasistencio; Langa, Nene, Dove, Domingos; Guima, Amadu; Witi; Catamo, Gilfo, Ratifo
Nigeria possible starting lineup:
Okoye; Onyemaechi, Bassey, Ajayi, Ebuehi; Chukwueze, Ndidi, Iwobi, Lookman; Boniface, Iheanacho

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Nigeria have a solid record against Mozambique and are firm favourites to come out on top, given the gulf in quality and depth between the two sides. While we expect Mozambique to put up a fight, we fancy the Super Eagles to pick up the desired result once again.

For data analysis of the most likely results, scorelines and more for this match please click here.


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