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U-23 AFCON Final: 7 Memorable Clashes Between Nigeria, Algeria

Despite below-par performances, Nigeria U-23s qualified for the football event of the Rio Olympic Games. The coach Samson Siasia-led side pipped hosts of the CAF U-23 Cup of Nations, Senegal, 1-0 in the semi-final. They will face Algeria in the final on Saturday to determine the winner of the tournament. Both teams played 0-0 in the group stage.

Ahead of this weekend's grand-finale, Completesportsnigeria.com's JAMES AGBEREBI takes a look at seven memorable encounters between Nigeria and Algeria…


AFCON 1980 FINAL

Nigeria as hosts qualified for the final of the 1980 Africa Cup of Nations for the very first time. After seeing off the likes of Tanzania, Morocco, Egypt en route the final, Nigeria met Algeria. Backed by a vociferous home crowd at the National Stadium, Lagos, Nigeria's Green Eagles triumphed 3-0 and clinched their first continental title. Goals from Segun Odegbami (brace) and the late Muda Lawal helped secure the win for Nigeria.


1982 WORLD CUP QUALIFIER

Algeria got their pound of flesh against Nigeria when both countries met in the final round of the Spain 1982 World Cup qualifiers. 

Nigeria hosted the first leg at the National Stadium, Lagos, but lost 2-0. In the return leg, Nigeria managed to score a goal, but it wasn't enough as the Algerians won 2-1 (4-1 on aggregate), and qualifed for their first ever FIFA World Cup.

AFCON 1988 SEMI-FINAL

Nigeria and Algeria rekindled their football rival when they clashed in the semi-finals of the 1988 Africa Cup of Nations in Morocco.

Nigeria went ahead following a 39th minute own goal by Abdelrazak Belgharbi. With four minutes remaining and with Nigeria playing with 10 men due to Ademola Adeshina's sending off, the Algerians equalized through Rachid Maatar, to send the game into extra-time.
After extra-time produced no goals, the game went into penalty shootout with Nigeria winning 9-8.


SEOUL 1988 OLYMPIC GAMES FOOTBALL QUALIFIER

After eliminating both Liberia and Zimbabwe in the first and second rounds respectively, Nigeria squared off against Algeria in the final round of the qualifiers for the football event of the 1988 Olympics in Seoul.

Nigeria were guests to Algeria in the first leg but lost 1-0. In the return leg, Nigeria overturned the deficit by winning 2-0, thereby qualifying alongside Zambia and Tunisia as Africa's representatives in Seoul.


AFCON 1990 FINAL

Algeria hosted the 1990 Africa Cup of Nations and were grouped with Egypt, Cote d'Ivoire and old foes Nigeria in Group A.

The opening game of the tournament saw Algeria thrash Nigeria 5-1. Despite the early setback, Nigeria still made it to the final only to lose 1-0 to Algeria, after a 38th minute Cherif Oudjani strike. 


USA 1994 WORLD CUP QUALIFIER

Nigeria finally qualified for the FIFA senior World Cup in USA 1994. After negotiating the first round, Nigeria were drawn with Cote d'Ivoire and Algeria in the final round of the qualifiers.

With Cote d'Ivoire leading Nigeria by just one point, all Nigeria needed was a draw against Algeria in their final group game to stand a chance of qualifying.

Finidi George gave Nigeria the lead in the first half, but Algeria drew level and had Nigeria on the ropes towards the end of the game. But the players held on to the 1-1 draw and eventually qualified Nigeria for her first ever FIFA senior World Cup.


GERMANY 2006 WORLD CUP QUALIFIER

Prior to their crucial match-day five 2006 World Cup qualifier against Algeria in Oran, Nigeria had never beaten the North Africans senior national team on their home soil.

All that was to change as Nigeria Thumped Algeria 5-2. Obafemi Martins (brace), Yusuf Ayila, Christian Obodo and John Utaka, were all on target for Nigeria.

But the win proved futile as Angola picked the ticket for the Germany 2006 World Cup after they beat Rwanda 1-0 in Kigali. 

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