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Benin vs Nigeria prediction, preview, team news and more | 2021 Africa Cup of Nations Qualifiers

Wilfred Ndidi will be in action for Nigeria against Benin
Wilfred Ndidi will be in action for Nigeria against Benin
Ume Elvis
ANALYST
Modified 27 Mar 2021
Preview

The Squirrels of Benin and Nigeria's Super Eagles will trade tackles at the Stade Charles de Gaulle in Porto Novo on Saturday.

This matchday five fixture in Group L will pit first against second, with three points on the line in the race for 2021 AFCON qualification.

Nigeria come into this game on the back of consecutive disappointing draws with Sierra Leone. The first leg saw the three-time African champions race into a four-goal lead inside 30 minutes at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium. However, Nigeria spectacularly capitulated in the second half with the game ending in a 4-4 draw.

The second leg was a largely forgettable and dour affair in Freetown which ended in a goalless draw.

Benin played a goalless draw away to bottom-placed Lesotho, which followed a 1-0 victory over the same opponents on matchday three.

Just one point separates the West African rivals in the standings. Nigeria currently lead the way with eight points garnered from four matches to date.

Benin are right behind on seven points, setting this up as one of the most exciting games of the weekend.

Benin vs Nigeria Head-to-Head

This will be the 15th meeting between the sides and, as expected, Nigeria have the better record with 12 wins and one draw to their name.

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Benin's sole victory came in August 2017, when a qualification game for the African Nations Championship ended in a 1-0 victory for the Squirrels.

Their most recent meeting came in November 2019 on matchday one of this qualification series. Goals in each half by Victor Osimhen and Samuel Kalu helped Nigeria to a 2-1 victory after Stephane Sessegnon had given Benin a shock lead.

Benin form guide: D-W-W-W-L

Nigeria form guide: D-D-D-L-W


Benin vs Nigeria Team News

Benin

Head coach Michel Dussuyer initially called up 23 players for upcoming fixtures against Nigeria and Sierra Leone.

The squad was made up exclusively of foreign-based players. However, the West African's have since been rocked by travel restrictions preventing their players from honoring the invitation.

As many as 10 players, including defender Olivier Verdon and striker Rudy Gestede, were unable to travel to Africa.

Dussuyer admitted that he was struggling to find alternative replacements and will have to push ahead without several of his key players for the visit of Nigeria.

Nigeria

Nigeria coach Gernot Rohr was also affected by travel bans for some of his key players. Leganes refused to grant permission for defender Kenneth Omeruo to travel. His spot on the team was taken by Abia Warriors defender Adeleke Adekunle.

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The in-form Paul Onuachu had initially been placed on the reserve list, much to the chagrin of fans back home. But the Genk striker was included in the main list to replace Moses Simon, whose club (Nantes) did not release him. Henry Onyekuru was called up in place of the injured Samuel Kalu.

Rohr's final list is headlined by the likes of Victor Osimhen, Wilfred Ndidi, Kelechi Iheanacho and Joe Aribo. Star player Alex Iwobi has tested positive for COVID-19 and will not be available against Benin. He will likely be replaced by Henry Onyekuru

Injury: Samuel Kalu

Suspension: None

COVID-19: Alex Iwobi

Benin vs Nigeria Predicted XI

Benin Predicted XI (4-3-3): Saturnin Allagbe (GK); Khaled Adenon, Emmanuel Imorou, David Kiki, MoΓ―se Adilehou; Jordan Adeoti, Rodrigue Kossi, Anaane Tidjani; Jacques Bessan, Steve Mounie, Jodel Dossou

Nigeria Predicted XI (4-3-2-1): Maduka Okoye (GK); Zaidu Sanusi, William Troost-Ekong, Leon Balogun, Ola Aina; Joe Aribo, Wilfred Ndidi, Oghenekaro Etebo; Henry Onyekuru, Kelechi Iheanacho, Victor Osimhen,


Benin vs Nigeria Prediction

A lot is riding on the outcome of this game and the absence of key players for Benin could hamper their chances. Nigeria have superior players but can be guilty of losing concentration at key moments, as evidenced by their collapse against Sierra Leone.

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Benin are undefeated at home in more than eight years, showing the daunting nature of the task facing the Super Eagles. Nigeria have struggled in defense in recent years, suggesting that goals could be scored at both ends.

We predict a narrow victory for the visitors.

Prediction: Benin 1-2 Nigeria

Published 25 Mar 2021, 20:06 IST
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