Algeria's defence to continue to rule

The AFCON semi-final will see Algeria take on Nigeria in one of the most mouth-watering match-ups of the competition thus far. Will the Super Eagles be soaring into the final or will the Desert Foxes win the battle of the Greens? Have a read of our preview here:

Algeria back to their best?

After some superb performances at the 2014 World Cup, the Desert Foxes went through a mini-crisis and failed to qualify for the tournament in Russia but that appears to be behind them.

They have some quality players at their disposal and came through a tough quarter-final with Ivory Coast on penalties though it really shouldn’t have got that far. The North Africans were by far the better team and missed a second-half penalty which would have been enough to progress.

It's hard to pin what has changed to get this talented side back to winning ways but the AFCON quarter-final was the first time during the tournament that they had failed to win the match in 90 minutes and was also, amazingly, the first time they had conceded a goal.

Defence is key

The Algeria backline is a formidable shield, almost impenetrable so far during these finals. They work extremely hard but the coach, Djamal Belmadi, deserves huge credit for the way he had got them drilled and organised.

Youcef Atal and Aissa Mandi have been excellent for the Dessert Foxes and are both should be mainstays in this side over the next few years. The midfield close down the spaces in front exceptionally well and this means they are very hard to break down. If Nigerian are to have much joy they will need to be at their best.

Super Eagles flying

Nigeria are always expected to do well but they will take pride in having got past a robust South African side. They are not so strong at the back as Algeria having conceded five times at these finals and suffered a shock defeat to the pluck Madagascans who defied the odds to reach their own quarter-final.

If Nigeria are to make it past Algeria they will need to find a way past that backline and Odion Ighalo and Alex Iwobi are going to be absolutely key just as they were in the win over Cameroon.

Algeria v Nigeria betting tip

With Algeria showing such a good defensive ethos and Nigeria already having struggled to score in their group games backing this to finish with under 2.5 goals at odds of 1/2 seems a very reasonable shout.

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