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Tuesday, 31 May 2016
Eagles face Luxembourg Lions today
Super Eagles are set to take on the Red Lions of Luxembourg at the Stade Josy Barthel on Tuesday (today).
Nigeria defeated Mali in France on Friday, with Manchester City’s Kelechi Iheanacho scoring the only goal in the 77th minute.
Ndidi, formerly of the national U17 and 20 sides helped his Belgian club, KRC Genk to qualify for the UEFA Europa League following a 5-1 defeat of Charleroi on Sunday. He could start alongside stand-captain Ogenyi Onazi and Shehu Abdullahi.The players had their first training session in the European country on Sunday following their arrival from France. On Monday morning, defensive midfielder Wilfred Ndidi arrived in the team’s Alvisse Parc Hotel camp in Luxembourg City, bringing the number of players there to 21. Babatunde Michael, who returned to Morocco after the game against Mali to be on duty for his club, Raja Casablanca, joined the team Monday night.
Even though the Nigerians are the clear favourites, coach Salisu Yusuf has promised his team will not underrate their less fancied opponents.
The Eagles are ranked 67th in the FIFA ratings, while Luxembourg are listed as 146th. But Yusuf who spoke with thenff.com insisted there were no longer minnows in world football. Luxembourg have scored only four goals in their last 10 matches, whilst conceding 20.
He said, “There are no longer small teams in international football. You could get a sucker punch if you underestimate any team. We will go out there and play to win.”
A close look at the team suggests that defender Kenneth Omeruo may start today in central defence and South Africa-based goalkeeper Daniel Akpeyi may also start in place of Carl Ikeme as the coaches intend to take a look at all the players in camp.
Luxembourg is coached by Luc Holtz with winger Daniel Alves da Mota and Stefano Bensi as the major players in the attack. Bensi scored 21 goals in the Luxembourg Premier League in the just-ended season according to thenff.com.
The Red Lions have won only two of their last 10 matches, beating Macedonia 1-0 in a Euro 2016 qualifier in September 2015 and Greece by the same margin in a friendly two months later.
Their last match, a friendly against Albania in March this year, ended in a 2-0 defeat for the Lions.