It’s definitely going to be a David versus Goliath contest at the Stade Adrar Agadir, Marrakech, Morocco, as the Super Eagles continue their journey to the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations in Ivory Coast with an away fixture against minnows Sao Tome and Principe on Monday (today), PUNCH Sports Extra reports.
It’s the first-ever match-up between both teams, with the Eagles rated overwhelming favourites, despite struggling against Sierra Leone in their opening 2-1 win at the empty Moshood Abiola National Stadium in Abuja on Thursday.
The win ended a run of five matches without a win as Alex Iwobi cancelled Jonathan Morsay’s 11th-minute opener for the visitors with a deft finish inside the box, before Victor Osimhen tucked home the winner four minutes before halftime for the Eagles’ 10th win over the Leone Stars.
The three-time African champions did not play to their full potential on the bumpy Abuja pitch, but they will be eager to redeem themselves and consolidate on their home win against the Leone Stars when they face the Sao Tomeans, who lost 5-1 in their opening fixture Guinea Bissau last Thursday.
The Falcons and True Parrots have never qualified for the World Cup or the Africa Cup of Nations and they also boast a poor record, with Mauritius the only team they had won and drawn against in the last six years, losing 17 of 21 matches within the period under review.
Most of Sao Tome’s players feature in the fourth-tier division and regional leagues in Portugal.
With nine wins and three draws in their last 12 AFCON qualifiers, the Eagles are the massive favourites to pick up the maximum points in Morocco.
But the ‘The Falcons and True Parrots’ will not file out without a fight.
They are placed 183rd in the currently FIFA ranking while the are Eagles 30th, 153 places above them.
The Eagles, who deployed a 4-2-4 formation in their opening fixture against the Leone Stars, must be wary of Adérito Pires da Mata fondly known as Iniesta.
The Uniao Desportiva Rei Amador star, 29, is one of the key players in the current squad, and has scored twice in eight games for The Falcons and True Parrots and is one player who could trouble the Eagles midfield.
But Eagles midfielder Joe Ario believes they will dominate their hosts in Morocco.
“We know what to do ensure we win and we hope to get the job done in Morocco,” the Glasgow Rangers man said ahead of the fixture.
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