AFCON: Preview – Ivory Coast vs Nigeria

Didier DrogbaAfrica Cup of Nations

  • Venue: Royal Bafokeng Stadium, Rustenburg
  • Date: Sunday 3 February
  • Kick-off: 15:00 GMT

Ivory Coast have no injury problems but a fair few selection dilemmas, not least whether to start with Didier Drogba or Lacina Traore up front.

The likes of Boubacar Barry, Yaya Toure and Gervinho are expected to return after being rested against Algeria.

Nigeria’s Fedor Ogude is suspended but John Mikel Obi can play after it was confirmed he has been booked only once.

Super Eagles captain Joseph Yobo is still not fully fit after picking up a knock in the first group match.

Ivory Coast Sabri Lamouchi:

“We’re into “money time,” you could say, there is no room for error, especially because we’re facing a very good Nigeria side, the slightest error can be very costly.

“If you win, you continue the adventure; if you don’t you have to go home so it’s effectively a whole new tournament starting from now.”

Nigeria coach Stephen Keshi:

“I’m not under any pressure but I’m under Stephen Keshi’s pressure, to do well for Nigerians. Any outside pressure does not exist with me. But I have my own targets and goals I want to achieve. Now if you want to call that pressure, that’s pressure.

“We have our confidence. Nigerians have decided we are failures already but we will come out and show something quality about our game on Sunday.”

Key match-ups in Africa Cup of Nations quarterfinal between Ivory Coast and Nigeria Sunday:

Gervinho (CIV) v Joseph Yobo (NGR)

Arsenal striker Gervinho has had an inspired start to the competition, looking sharp, pacey and dangerous whenever he gets the ball. He scored the winner against Togo and the first in the 3-0 rout of Tunisia. Captain Yobo, the experienced defender at his sixth Nations Cup, is set to play after recovering from an ankle injury and Nigeria need him to blunt the Ivorian frontline.

Yaya Toure (CIV) v Victor Moses (NGR)

An intriguing battle in the middle of the park lies ahead between Manchester City giant Toure, the recently annointed African Footballer of the Year, and Chelsea’s Moses, making his presence felt at his first Nations Cup. It was Moses who bagged the two late goals against Ethiopia that set up this clash.

BBC/AFP

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