Nigeria vs South Africa predictions: Ace defences to dictate outcome
- Nigeria have lost a record seven semi-final ties
- Both Nigeria and South Africa are on runs of four straight clean sheets
- Recommended bet: Under 1.5 goals
The two meanest defences at the Africa Cup of Nations clash in Bouake with the prize of a place in Sunday’s final on the line.
Nigeria have conceded just one goal on route to the semi-finals, South Africa only two and neither nation has been breached since their opening group game.
Ahmed Musa and Kelechi Iheanacho are still being monitored, but both hope to make the Nigeria bench.
Coach Jose Peseiro is set to name the starting XI in the same 3-4-2-1 set-up for the third game in a row.
Bafana Bafana boss Hugo Broos has no new injury concerns so is also set to stick with the same players – in their favoured 4-2-3-1 line-up – who saw off Cape Verde.
Both these countries arrive in the semis on the back of four straight clean sheets.
Nigeria’s five matches in Ivory Coast have produced just seven goals, all five yielding two goals or less.
Ademola Lookman has scored all three of the Super Eagles’ goals in the two knockout rounds.
South Africa have failed to find the net in three of their five matches at the finals.
Nigeria and South Africa have hardly been laying on a show, but they have clearly been doing plenty right having made it to the semis.
South Africa have only won two of their five games so far, while Nigeria have not scored more than two goals in a single game and have scored just six in total.
At the other end of the pitch, however, these nations have nailed their defensive duties with eight clean sheets – four each – in a combined 10 fixtures.
With the stakes now ratcheted up to their highest, it is difficult to believe either of these teams are suddenly going to come out of their shells and go gung-ho
And if it is tight, then Nigeria look too short. Two Bafana Bafana matches and three Super Eagles games have produced one goal or under and this is unlikely to be any more free-flowing.
Nigeria look to have the more expansive forward options, but Napoli’s Victor Osimhen is struggling and Broos’ men will almost certainly have him under wraps from the off.
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