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Tournament format and results so far

African Cup of Nations continues today. Group A plays two games and Group B plays one game. All teams are playing three group matches and top two of the group qualifies automatically to the knockout stages. Four best 3rd place teams will also qualify. Today’s tip focuses on the Group B match between Nigeria and Guinea. Game starts 5.30pm Finnish time.

Nigeria started their journey in the tournament by winning Burundi 1-0 with Odion Ighalo‘s goal. Nigeria won ball possession clearly 64% to 36%, but created goal scoring chances were tied. Both Burundi and Nigeria had 15 scoring chances. Nigeria hit the target 3 times, Burundi 6 times. Nigeria had almost double the passes, and completed 240 successful passes more than Burundi.

Guinea started their tournament with a 2-2 draw against Madagascar. Sory Kaba (Dijon) took Guinea into the lead and Francois Kamano (Bordeaux) equalized from penalty spot to secure one point. Guinea dominated both ball possession (60% to 40%) and scoring chances (15 to 6). Guinea completed total of 479 successful passes.

Form in past 5 games 

Nigeria has played 5 games this year, including the first round win against Burundi. In their other four games Nigeria has won twice, had one draw and one loss. Nigeria lost to Senegal 1-0 and had a scoreless draw against Zimbabwe. The wins came over Egypt 1-0 and Seychelles 3-1. During these 5 games Nigeria has had 5 different goal scorers. They are scoring 1 goal per game on average and giving away 0,4.

Guinea could do better as they haven’t won a single game during their past 5 games. Guinea has 3 draws and 2 losses int heir past 5 games, 4 of them have been played this year. 1-1 draw against Ivory Coast was played last November. In addition to draws against Madagascar and Ivory Coast, Guinea played a scoreless draw against Central African Republic. Their losses came against Benin 0-1 and Egypt 3-1. Out of their 4 scored goals Sory Kaba has scored two. Guinea is scoring 0,8 goals per game on average and they are giving away 1,4 goals per game on average.

Players to watch – who are the star players for Nigeria?

Nigeria has several good players that play regular role in big leagues. Attacking player for Arsenal Alex Iwobi made 35 appearences in the Premier League this season and played in 11 Europa League games. Iwobi scored 3 Premier League goals and 2 Europa League goals. Another attacking star player is Odion Ighalo. 30-year-old striker scored 21 league goals in 28 games for Changchun Yatai in Chinese Super League. This season Ighalo is playing for Shanghai Shenhua and has scored 7 goals in 9 games. Henry Onyekuru played a solid season with Galatasaray in Turkish Super Lig. He scored 14 league goals in 31 games. Onyekuru had phenomenal season with KAS Eupen in Belgium 16/17 season scoring 23 goals in 38 games. He signed a contract with Everton but has never played for them. Central defensive midfielder Wilfred Ndidi (Leicester) is the last current star for Nigeria. 22-yer-old Ndidi played 38 league games and scored two goals. Ndidi won the most tackles in the whole Premier League last season.

Players to watch – who are the star players for Guinea?

Guinea doesn’t have as many big names in their team as Nigeria does, but they have their fair share of star players too. Amadou Diawara is up and coming midfielder playing for Napoli. 21-year-old Diawara made 13 appearances in Serie A and played in four Europa League games. 23-year-old Francois Kamano played 37 games in Ligue 1 for Bordeaux and scored decent 10 league goals. He also played in 11 Europa League games scoring 3 goals in them. Biggest star in Guinea’s team is Champions League winner Naby Keita. Keita played 25 Premier League games and scored 2 goals from midfield position. He played in 6 Champions League games and scored one goal. 

Conclusion – what to play here?

These two teams are going in totally different directions when it comes to form. Both teams faced worse team than they are, but only other one managed to win. Nigeria has more talent in their squad and several players have a lot of experience. Ndidi is hard to get past in Nigeria’s defensive end. Nigeria also has a lot of pace up front, so Guinea’s defense will have a lot of work to do. The match will be tight and only one goal could be what separates these two teams today. With Guinea struggling defensively and Nigeria having lots of potential attacking wise I see Nigeria win this game. 


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