Sunday 14 July: 8pm KO
Live on EuroSport
The African Cup of Nations is reaching its climax. The two semi-finals are both being played on Sunday 14 July. Nigeria are the higher ranked of these two countries and are looking to win their fourth title.
Nigeria are ranked 45th in the world and last won the Africa Cup of Nations in 2013. They can be backed at 4/1 (5.0) at Ladbrokes to win the title this year. That’s compared to their opponents Algeria, who are 5/2 (3.5) second favourites at Betfair.
Since winning this title six years ago, it’s been a disappointing time for the Super Eagles. They failed to qualify in both 2015 and 2017. Last year saw them knocked out in the group stages of the World Cup.
The Nigerian side were unbeaten in their first two group games. They began well with a 1-0 win over Burundi. That was followed by another 1-0 win, this time over Guinea. It’s 7/1 (8.0) at BetVictor that they win this game by a 1-0 scoreline.
With two wins in the bag, it looked a formality that Nigeria would go on to win the group. However, they lost 2-0 to unfancied Madagascar and ended up as runners-up. That’s not too bad actually as it means they ended up in the opposite half of the draw to Senegal who are favourites to win this title.
The last sixteen saw them take on the defending champions Cameroon. Odion Ighalo gave them an early lead but by half time they were 2-1 down. Another Ighalo goal leveled the tie and it was Arsenal’s Alex Iwobi who got the winner.
Their quarter final opponents were South Africa, who had beaten hosts Egypt in the last round. After taking the lead, Nigeria were pegged back to 1-1. With just a minute of normal time remaining, William Troost-Ekong scored the winning goal for Nigeria. Can they make it to the final? It’s 9/4 (3.25) at Unibet that they win this match in 90 minutes. The odds on them qualifying for the final are 11/10 (2.1) at William Hill.
Algeria on Unbeaten Run
Algeria haven’t won the African Cup of Nations since 1990. Since that victory they had only reached the last four once and that was in 2010. They came into this tournament on a long unbeaten run with no defeats since last October.
Six games had been played without defeat before the start of this event. They have kept that unbeaten run going and won their group with three wins and no goals conceded. After a comfortable win over Kenya, they beat group favourites Senegal 1-0. A 3-0 victory over Tanzania completed their clean sweep of wins. Napoli’s Adam Ounos scored twice in that game. He’s 14/5 (3.4) at Coral to score in this match.
The last sixteen saw Algeria gain an easy 3-0 win over Guinea. That took them into a tricky quarter-final against Ivory Coast. They took the lead in the first half but their opponents fought back to get a 1-1 draw after 90 minutes. The odds of this semi-final ending level after 90 minutes are 21/10 (3.1) at BlackType. There were no goals in extra-time and Algeria qualified via a penalty shoot-out. Both teams in this semi-final are 9/1 (10.0) at SkyBet to win in that fashion.
Algeria had won six games in a row against Nigeria until a 3-0 World Cup qualifying defeat in 2017. Three of the last four games played between these two countries have had over 2.5 goals scored in them. There are odds of 8/5 (2.6) at Bet365 on that stat coming up in this semi-final.
Algeria may be without Youcef Atal who sustained a shoulder injury in the quarter final. He’s likely to be replaced by Mehdi Zeffane if unfit. Nigeria are expected to name an unchanged team.
This looks like being a tight game but Algeria have been getting the better results and look difficult to beat. A bet on them to win this game in 90 minutes is 6/4 (2.5) at SkyBet.