• Foxes extend dominance over below-average rivals
Algeria extended their dominance over Nigeria as they beat a disappointing Super Eagles 2-1 in a friendly game at the Miloud Hadefi Olympic Complex, Oran on Tuesday night.
The Eagles went into the game seeking to end the Foxes’ five-year dominance, with Djamel Belmadi’s side having emerged winners in their last three meetings, scoring six goals and conceding once, since a 3-1 loss to the Eagles in November 2016 in Uyo.
It was the 22nd time both teams met, with the Desert Foxes coming out tops with 10 wins, while the Eagles have won nine times against the North Africans with three other encounters ending in draws.
Nigeria started the game the brighter of the two sides and were rewarded for their efforts early on as FC Lorient forward Terem Moffi gave the Eagles the lead just nine minutes into the game.
The quick goal spurred the Foxes into life as they began to dominate proceedings looking for an immediate equaliser.
The Eagles’ backline of Ola Aina, Zaidu Sanusi, Kevin Akpoguma and Calvin Bassey held their ground to contain the Algerian attacks led by Manchester City star, Mahrez.
New Atalanta boy Ademola Lookman looked to have added to the Eagles tally when he slotted in from close range just before the break, but his effort was ruled out for offside.
Jose Peseiro’s side were then hard done by, after the referee awarded Algeria a penalty, which was coolly converted by Mahrez to draw level for the Foxes, with both teams going into the break tied 1-1.
There was no substitution from both sides as the second half began, with Algeria despetrate for the lead.
But despite their dominance, Nigeria looked likely to take the lead with two quick chances, but they failed to make good use of them.
In the 58th minute, Zaidu began a fine counterattack for the Eagles, but his cross was not properly controlled by Lookman, who had only the goalkeeper to beat.
Another glorious chance fell to Kelechi Iheanacho just a minute later, but the Leicester City man’s weak shot was easily saved by the Algeria goalkeeper.
Two minutes after Nigeria had spurned their chances, Algeria took the lead for the first time in the encounter.
Eagles’ goalkeeper, Francis Uzoho, misjudged a Youcef Atal’s scorching 40-yard shot, which easily sailed into the net.
In search of an equaliser, Portuguese coach Peseiro brought on Nottingham Forest’s Taiwo Awoniyi for Moffi.
The substation made no difference as the Eagles failed to string passes together and often relied on long balls for counterattacks.
With just five minutes left on the clock, Peseiro made two substitutions with Raphael Onyedika and Cyriel Dessers coming on for Frank Onyeka and Iheanacho respectively to hand the former his Eagles debut.
The Foxes however held on to their lead to claim their 10th win over the disappointing Eagles and Peseiro’s second defeat since taking charge of the Eagles in June.