Afcon 2021: Nigeria vs Egypt: Where the game will be won or lost
The two giants will do battle in the opening game of their Africa Cup of Nations campaign on Tuesday.
Three-time Africa Cup of Nations winners Nigeria and record seven-time champs Egypt will face off on Tuesday and both sides recognise the value of a strong start.
With either expected to end win Group D, first-place may well be claimed by the nation that triumphs in Garoua.
GOAL took a look at factors that could possibly swing the result in either team’s favour.
Undoubtedly Egypt’s star player, keeping the Liverpool forward quiet will be a tough ask.
Be that as it may, the West Africans will look to limit the supply to the superstar — involved in six of the Pharaohs’ 10 goals since his 2017 Afcon debut — who can hurt Nigeria in several ways.
Limiting defensive mistakes
Unforced errors at the back were prevalent in Gernot Rohr’s final games in charge, with the Super Eagles conceding soft goals at times, while their frailties went unpunished on other occasions.
Indeed, the defensive personnel selected by Augustine Eguavoen have to play at their best to avoid yet another false start at Afcon.
The absence of dominance in the middle has often seen the Nigeria midfield fail to assert themselves against sides you expect them to be comfortable against.
This was a frustration under the previous regime, and it remains to be seen if there will be any significant change against the Pharaohs.
Supposedly weaker sides mostly failed to punish that Super Eagles weakness, but the Pharaohs are a different kettle of fish.
Making the most of set-pieces
The disappointing nature of wide free-kicks and corners remains an ongoing issue.
The Super Eagles tend to get a bulk of opportunities from dead-ball situations which largely amount to nothing.
Moses Simon bears the brunt of supporters’ criticism, despite his dependability from such situations at Nantes.
If he starts against Egypt and retains set-piece taking duty, Augustine Eguavoen will hope for better deliveries from the wide attacker.
Supplying the frontmen
With Victor Osimhen out of Afcon, there is a greater need to fashion opportunities for whoever leads the line in Cameroon.
The Napoli star’s profile and mentality mean he flourishes despite insufficient assistance up top, but his replacement may require improved service in the attacking third.