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Nigeria vs Saudi Arabia: All you need to know about friendly tie, lineup, scoreline, others

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Nigeria is scheduled to engage in an international friendly with Saudi Arabia at the Estádio Municipal de Portimão in Portugal on Friday evening.

The kick-off time for this international friendly match is set at 5 pm.

Following the Saudi Arabia clash this week, Nigeria is prepared to face Mozambique in another friendly match next week.

Both of these matches are seen as essential preparations for the Super Eagles ahead of their 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifier against Lesotho in November.

Notably, the last encounter between Nigeria and Saudi Arabia took place in 2010 in Austria, concluding in a 0-0 draw.

FIFA, the global governing body for football, has already designated Portuguese official Luis Godinho as the referee for this international friendly match between Nigeria and Saudi Arabia. Godinho will be supported by his compatriots, including Bruno Jesus (assistant referee one), Tiago Costa (assistant referee two), and Miguel Noguera (fourth official). Additionally, FIFA has assigned Helder Carvalho to oversee the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) room, with Bruno Vieira assisting Carvalho.

Nigeria’s Team News:

Super Eagles’ head coach, Jose Peseiro, has already summoned 25 players for the upcoming friendlies against Saudi Arabia and Mozambique. It’s worth noting that Gent forward, Gift Orban, did not receive a call-up, with Nice’s Terem Moffi being included after being omitted from Nigeria’s previous game against Sao Tome and Principe. Unfortunately, Nottingham Forest attacker Taiwo Awoniyi will not participate in Nigeria’s two friendlies against Saudi Arabia and Mozambique due to injury. Awoniyi recently suffered a groin injury during training with Nottingham Forest, which may sideline him for up to a month. Furthermore, Nottingham Forest defender Ola Aina has also been ruled out of the two friendlies due to injury. Although Aina was initially named in the 25-man squad for both games by Peseiro, his Premier League club, Nottingham Forest, has confirmed his current absence due to a muscle injury, with the return date remaining uncertain. Notably, Peseiro has extended a maiden invitation to the team for Fisayo Dele-Bashiru, who currently plays for Turkish Super Lig club Hatayspor.

Peseiro’s team will assemble in Faro, Portugal, on Tuesday in preparation for the friendly match.

While Nigeria has claimed victory in three of its last six matches against Sao Tome, Sierra Leone, Guinea-Bissau (two legs), Portugal, and Costa Rica, Saudi Arabia approaches the game against Nigeria after facing defeat in all of their last six matches. These losses were against South Korea, Costa Rica, Bolivia, Venezuela, Mexico, and Poland. The Green Falcons are anticipating their first win under their new coach, Roberto Mancini, who was appointed in August. Mancini has already unveiled his 31-man squad for the Nigeria clash this week and the Mali game next week. Notably, the former Manchester City manager has called up thirty-one players based in Saudi Arabia, with Al-Hilal contributing the most players to the roster (12).

Predictions:

It is widely believed that Nigeria is expected to secure a victory against Saudi Arabia, with the match potentially ending in a 2-1 result in favor of Jose Peseiro’s side.

Isa Saleh Sadiq, a football scout and the CEO of International Football Academy based in Northern Nigeria, shared his insights on Nigeria’s clash with Saudi Arabia. Sadiq noted that this international friendly would be challenging for both teams. He emphasized that Saudi Arabia is yet to secure a victory under Mancini, and he expects a closely contested match.

Sadiq also expressed his satisfaction with the players called up by Peseiro for the friendly game, highlighting the inclusion of players who are in good form and regularly feature for their club sides. However, he expressed disappointment that only one player from the Nigerian Professional Football League (NPFL) made the list and hoped that more local players would be invited in subsequent matches.

In terms of predictions, Sadiq anticipates a tough and closely contested match, with a potential outcome of a 1-0 victory for Nigeria or a 1-1 draw.

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UCL: Calzona warns Osimhen, others on player selection

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Napoli coach Francesco Calzona has issued a stern warning to Victor Osimhen and his fellow players, emphasizing that he will base his selection for matches solely on performance, without considering their names or reputations.

Taking over from Walter Mazzarri on Monday, Calzona made significant substitutions during Napoli’s 1-1 draw with Barcelona on Wednesday night, including star forwards Osimhen and Kvicha Kvaratskhelia.

Despite the Serie A champions securing a draw in the first leg of the Round of 16 contest at the Diego Armando Maradona Stadium, Osimhen was replaced immediately after scoring the equalizer in the 75th minute.

“I keep the players on the field who are performing well, I don’t take into account their names,” Calzona emphasized to Sky Sports Italia after the match.

Calzona further explained that he had not been tempted to keep Osimhen on the field longer after his goal. “No, in fact, I had been prepared to substitute him earlier, but due to tactical considerations, I kept him on for a few more minutes.”

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Ex-Chelsea boss, Thomas Tuchel confirms exit from Bayern Munich

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Thomas Tuchel has verified his exit from Bayern Munich. The club had previously announced that the German coach would depart at the conclusion of the ongoing season. The decision to part ways was mutual between the club and Tuchel. Confirming the conclusion of his tenure with Bayern, Tuchel informed reporters on Tuesday, “We have agreed to terminate our partnership after the conclusion of this season. Until then, my coaching staff and I will continue to strive for maximum success for FC Bayern.”

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2024 Olympic Qualifiers: 11 players arrive Super Falcons camp ahead Cameroon clash

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Ahead of the 2024 Olympic Games qualifiers against the Indomitable Lionesses of Cameroon, 11 players have reported to the Super Falcons’ camp in Abuja. The camp commenced on Tuesday morning. Among the early arrivals are goalkeepers Chiamaka Nnadozie, Tochukwu Oluehi, Linda Jiwaku, and Akudo Ogbonna. The remaining players include Rasheedat Ajibade, Michelle Alozie, Tosin Demehin, Rofiat Imuran, Abiodun Deborah, Ifeoma Onumonu, and Gift Monday. Ten more players are expected to join the camp soon. Additionally, Head Coach Randy Waldrum has also arrived from the United States of America.

The first leg of the encounter will be hosted by Cameroon at the Stade de la Reunification, Douala, on Friday. The reverse fixture is scheduled for next week Monday at the Moshood Abiola Stadium, Abuja.

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