The Elephants’ head coach, Jean-Louis Gasset, has stressed that his team will step up against the Super Eagles of Nigeria at 6 p.m. today, January 18, as the 2023 AFCON heat up in Ivory Coast.
Ivory Coast and Nigeria will clash at the Olympic Stadium of Ebimpé and the winner could maintain the first spot in Group A ahead of the last round of games in the group stage.
The Elephants are going into this evening’s clash with more confidence having won their opening game against Guinea-Bissau 2-0. They are currently topping their group and they will play today’s game in front of their home fans.
On the other hand, the Super Eagles are under intense pressure to deliver against the hosts of the 2023 AFCON after failing to beat Equatoria Guinea in their opening group-stage game.
Recall that in the said game, Nigeria came from a goal down to draw 1-1 thanks to a header from Victor Osimhen, the reigning CAF player of the year.
Though Osimhen missed a series of goalscoring opportunities in the game against Equatoria Guinea, coach Gasset still described him as the best striker in Africa.
Ahead of the tie, the French tactician said: “We know Nigeria’s strengths- their attacking line-up is impressive and their striker is the best in Africa, we will have to improve but having got the opening match pressure off, I’m sure my players will step up.”
Unlike the Ivorians, who will be fine with a draw, the Super Eagles need to win to have a brighter chance of qualifying from the group stage.
If the Ivorian team beat Nigeria and Guinea-Bissau beat Equatoria Guinea, the Super Eagles will have no control of their fate. They will have to beat Guinea-Bissau in their last group stage game and hope that Ivory Coast will defeat Equatoria Guinea in their last group stage game to remain in the tournament.
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