Super Eagles probable starting XI vs. Algeria: Okoye out, Moffi in

The Nigerian national team will later today trade tackles with their host Algeria in an international friendly slated for the Olympic Stadium in Oran.

Alex Iwobi and Cyriel Dessers emerged from the bench to net the goals for the Super Eagles in the 2-2 draw with the Algeria B team on Friday.

But who should make the starting eleven against the Desert Foxes for Tuesday’s clash?

Goalkeeper: Francis Uzoho
Watford goalie Maduka Okoye committed the error that led to Algeria’s first goal last week, and he should sit this one out.

Israel-based Adeleye Adebayo’s second-half display in that encounter did not inspire much confidence either.

And this should open the door for Francis Uzoho to step in and stake his claim to the number one gloves.

Goalkeeper Adeleye Adebayo
Goalkeeper Adeleye Adebayo

Centre-back: Kenneth Omeruo, Calvin Bassey
With Leon Balogun and William Troost-Ekong out due to injury, the choice of their replacements is not an easy one.

Sochaux’s Valentine Ozornwafor was solid in the test game, but there is a feeling he was only a placeholder.

The jury is still out on Chidozie Awaziem and Kevin Akpoguma’s nous in the centre of defence.

Calvin Bassey is Nigeria’s most valuable defender, but he uncannily gave away the penalty that led to Algeria’s second goal on Friday. At the same time, Kenneth Omeruo has only just returned from injury.

Getting a pairing out of this lot must give head coach Jose Peseiro a serious headache.

Leganes’ Omeruo and Ajax’s Bassey could, however, get the nod ahead of the others.

Full-back: Ola Aina, Zaidu Sanusi
Torino’s Ola Aina has the right-back slot nailed down, with either Awaziem or Akpoguma fit to offer cover from the bench.

The competition at left-back between Porto’s Sanusi and Bassey is stiffer, though. But with Bassey slotting in at centre-half, Sanusi gets to start at full-back.

Central midfield: Raphael Onyedika, Alex Iwobi
Everton’s Alex Iwobi was Nigeria’s best player against Algeria’s home-based side despite playing only the second half.

A goal and a pre-assist in that tie elevate him into the starting lineup in Oran against Riyad Mahrez and co.

Club Brugge’s Onyedika was impressive on his unofficial international debut and in the absence of Wilfred Ndidi, he’s expected to beat Frank Onyeka to the defensive midfield spot.

Super Eagles
Super Eagles

Wingers: Moses Simon, Ademola Lookman
Nantes’ Simon is arguably Nigeria’s most in-form winger in Europe’s top-five leagues. But he may need to start as a right-winger to allow Atalanta’s Ademola Lookman to exploit the space in his preferred left-wing.

Both men can swap positions during the match, though.

And there are able deputies in Hertha Berlin’s Chiders Ejuke and Casa Pia’s Saviour Godwin, who especially impressed in a cameo appearance on Friday.

Strikers: Kelechi Iheanacho, Terem Moffi
Leicester City’s Kelechi Iheanacho provided a fine assist to Dessers’ goal in the test game, and Peseiro could be tempted to launch that striking duo from the off on Tuesday.

But Terem Moffi has been Nigeria’s most prolific goalscorer in any of Europe’s top five leagues. Only Neymar and Mbappe have found the net more times than the Lorient star in the French Ligue 1.

An Iheanacho-Moffi partnership (downside: both are predominantly left-footers) could cause plenty of problems for Algeria’s defence.

Nottingham Forest’s Taiwo Awoniyi will be a good option from the bench if more firepower is needed against the Desert Foxes.

Nigeria’s probable lineup (4-4-2):
Uzoho; Aina, Omeruo, Bassey, Sanusi; Simon, Iwobi, Onyedika, Lookman; Iheanacho, Moffi.

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