Nigeria’s Super Eagles are hoping to overtake the Pharaohs of Egypt in the quest for qualification for the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations billed for Gabon.
With four points from two games, Nigeria at the moment trails its North African opponent by two points in Group G, meaning only a win will see them leapfrog the seven-time African Champions.
The past days have seen intense preparations by the Nigerian team and their Egyptian counterparts, who are keen to return to the AFCON after missing out on the last three editions.
With no room for errors, the Eagles and the Pharaohs have the best of their players in Kaduna as the continent waits to see who edges closer to qualifying for Gabon 2017 between the two teams.
The gates to the Ahmadu Bello Stadium have been thrown open for fans, and a capacity-crowd is expected to cheer the Eagles onto victory from 5pm kick-off time.
For the records, Egypt remained unbeaten against Nigeria in their last five outings as the Pharaohs last loss to the Eagles was in March 1990.
A win for Nigeria will break the nearly three-decade stand-off against the Egyptians.
Stay with us for live updates for this big match today….
16:04: Egypt XI: El-Shennawy – Gaber, Tolba, Rabia, Hegazy, Elneny, I. Salah, A. El-Said, Trezeguet, Salah – Kola.”
Nigeria XI: Amuzie, Ambrose, Oboabona, Abdullahi; Etebo, Mikel; Simon, Iheanacho, Musa; Ighalo
16:16: The Super Eagles team and Egypt goalkeepers are out for warm up.
16:22: The full Egyptian team now out for warm up, Arsenal’s Mohammed Eleney and Roma’s Mohamed Salah are the star men for the Pharaohs
16:29: Mammoth crowd at the Ahmadu Bello Stadium as more fans are trooping into the stadium…. Will this amount to a big win for the Super Eagles, we are 90 minutes away from seeing that.
16:47: Security officials matching out ‘excess’ fans with no place to sit at the Ahmadu Bello stadium.
16:57: The two teams come out with their traditional jerseys…. Eagles in green with sit a white stripe while Egypt with Red and white.
16:58: Egypt take their national anthem before the Super Eagles take their turn.
16:59: It has been a long while since the Eagles have played before a packed stadium. This is good.
17:05: First Free Kick to Egypt
17:06: The crowd at the Ahmadu Bello Stadium is definitely going to be the 12th man for the Super Eagles.
17:07: Mikel get a long cross to Ighalo but the Egyptian defender forces it out for a throw in.
17:08: Ahmed Musa gets the ball into the net but he was flagged offside by the lines man
17:11: The two coaches Siasia and Hector Cuper both on their feet.. that highlights the importance of this game
17:14: Ahmed Musa flagged offside again as he takes a run at goal.
17:17: 15mins – After an early bombardment the Eagles are trying to get behind the Egyptian defence using lofted balls.
17:18: Efe Ambrose’s error gives Egypt a chance but they fluffed same
17:20: Egypt very close to getting a shock lead.. but Nigeria forces a corner kick
17:21: Etebo tries a shot but stopped by the Egypt goalkeeper
17:23: Moses Simon wastes a free kick given to the Super Eagles
17:31: 30’minutes gone and the game still goalless in Kaduna.
17:45: Mikel lobs the free kick into the Egypt area but danger averted for the visitors
17:47: Iheanacho wipes a shot from just outsdie the box but the Egypt keeper parries the ball.
17:48: First Half ends Nigeria 0-0 Egypt
Half time Analysis
The Eagles have been steady but have to quicken their attacks in the last third through Ahmed Musa and Moses Simon attacking down the flanks.
And the Eagles have to cut out technical mistakes from the likes of Ambrose Efe, who in the first half gave the Egyptians a sniff of goal.
For the second half, Kelechi Iheanacho, has to do more while the midfielders must put the ball on the pitch as the Egyptian defenders are tall enough to deal with the lofted balls that were preferred in the first half.
Odion Ighalo needs to be given more chances of taking on his marker one-on-one and the team needs to play more balls on the ground to release the speedy duo of Simon and Ahmed Musa. Victor Moses is also another option in behind the striker as his dribbling and pace could create goal scoring chances for the team.
18:04: Second half gets underway
18:08: The heat sure is on as both Siasia and Coach Cuper have taken off their suits
18:10: Nigeria almost get the lead as Ighalo’s overhead kick misses the target by inches
18:14: Musa drives into the Egypt box and takes a shot but his attempt well caught by the keeper
18:14: The Kaduna finds their voices cheer every move by Eagles and boos that of the Egyptians
18:17: Fans chanting for Victor Moses to be brought in
18:19: Goal!!Etebo breaks the deadlock after goal mouth scramble
18:19: He scores on the hour-mark for Nigeria… Can the Eagles add to their tally
18:21: Substitution: Iheanacho out for Aminu Umar
18:24: Carl Ikeme gets tested from close range and saves the ball perfectly
18:30: Victor Moses comes in for Musa
18:41: Iwobi coming in for Nigeria as the Arsenal youngster replaces Moses Simon