Off the back of a first World Cup Qualifying defeat last time out, Nigeria visit the Stade Barthelemy Boganda to take on the Central African Republic on Sunday.
Meanwhile, the home side are looking to make it back to back wins having picked up their first qualifying victory at the third time of asking.
Taking on the lowest ranked side in the group on their own patch, Nigeria were firm favourites to make it nine points from a possible nine on Thursday as they took on the Central African Republic at the Teslim Balogun Stadium in Lagos.
To the dismay of an expectant home support, Gernot Rohr’s men failed to convert large spells of dominance into goals and ultimately paid the price in the 91st minute when Karl Namnganda struck late to hand his side all three points.
However, the Super Eagles remain top of Group C but have missed out on an opportunity to open up a five-point gap midway through the qualifiers.
With little or no time to dwell on that demoralising defeat, the West Africans now set out to exact revenge following a first defeat on home soil since 2017.
Sunday’s visitors, who risk relinquishing their lead at the top should they drop points once again, will be keen on getting their qualifying journey back on track.
After picking up just one point from their opening two qualifiers, Central African Republic’s chances of a first-ever World Cup appearance looked dead and buried, but a shock win last time out has got them back on track.
That was a first victory since 2019 for Raoul Savoy’s men and a first away from home in over 10 years which should give them a confidence boost ahead of the contest in Bangui.
Les Fauves sit just two points behind Nigeria, meaning that they would leapfrog this weekend’s opponents into top spot should they manage to come out on top.
Sunday’s hosts, who failed to book a spot at next year’s Africa Cup of Nations in January, now have their sights set on a place in November’s global event which would more than make up for their continental disappointment.
Wild Beasts vs Super Eagles:
Thursday’s meeting was the first international clash between the two sides and CAR’s victory sent shockwaves across the continent. The win halted a run of nine international games without a victory for the Wild Beasts.
It also boosted their chances of making it to the next round. However, the fact that the second leg will be played on neutral ground robs them of what would have been an invaluable home advantage.
CAR form guide: W-L-D-L-L
Nigeria form guide: L-W-W-L-D
Nigeria to Win
After earning wins over Cape Verde Islands and Liberia, Nigeria faced their first defeat of the 2022 World Cup qualifiers at the hands of the Central African Republic. The Wild Beasts can further dampen their Nigerians aspirations by completing the group stage double in the return game at home. We do not believe that will be a possibility as the Super Eagles should regroup and get their qualification campaign back on track.
Total Goals – Under 2.5
Barring their 0-5 dismantling at the hands of Rwanda in June this year, Raoul Savoy’s men have not seen their scoreline top the two-goal mark. For Nigeria, this stands at two in five, one being their 0-4 defeat to Mexico and the other a 2-1 victory against Cape Verde. As a consequence, we do not expect the scoreline to be extravagant given the qualification stakes involved.
Both Teams to Score – No
The Wild Beasts have seen four of their last five fixtures with just one side getting on the scoreboard. They have been shut out thrice and kept a clean sheet once. For Nigeria, the results history shows a similar reading. The first goal will be the difference-maker in this low scoring affair, so expect only one side to trouble the scorers on October 10.
Central African Republic possible starting XI: Samola; Yangao, Guinari, Ndobe, Niamathe, Ngam-Ngam; Namnganda, Ban, Toropite, Ndokomandji; M’Vondo
Nigeria possible starting XI:
Okoye; Collins, Balogun, Troost-Ekong, Aina; Onyeka, Aribo, Ejuke, Kalu; Iheanacho, Osimhen