Group B will see its last round of fixtures played on Sunday at 5pm BST, with Nigeria and Madagascar battling it out for the top spot on the standings. Having each played twice, Nigeria currently hold a two point lead over their upcoming opponents as they took maximum points from their opening games, providing them with a slight edge in terms of goal difference despite only bagging two up to now. Madagascar drew once and have been on the winning end of a scoreline on one occasion, placing them in second and in with a great chance of qualifying for the next stage, barring any major shocks.
Their opening encounter with Guinea didn’t quite begin as they would have liked when Sory Kaba put their opponents in front thirty-four minutes into the match. Thankfully, from Madagascar’s point of view, they were soon back on level terms through Ancient Abel just after the half-time break had finished with a neat strike. Carolus Andriamahitsinoro was the provider for the equaliser, and he later turned scorer five minutes afterwards with a cool shot from the centre of the box. Madagascar failed to hold on to that advantage though, and Francois Kamano punished them from the penalty spot to see both teams share the points. The matchup with Burundi would have been targeted as the fixture in which they have a fantastic opportunity to win, and Madagascar certainly didn’t let anyone down when they got those three precious points thanks to Marco Ilaimaharitra’s incredible free-kick that saw the ball nestle in the back of Jonathan Nahimana’s net. Now, Madagascar can ensure their position in the top two by simply not losing here.
Two 1-0 wins have allowed Nigeria to climb up the Group B table and advance to the following stage of AFCON 2019. In their first outing, Gernot Rohr’s men were held to a goalless stalemate until there were under fifteen minutes of time remaining, and Odion Ighalo slotted the ball home with a solid finish assisted by Ola Aina. That was enough to see Nigeria take home three crucial points and move closer to a place in the top two. Then came the game versus Guinea in what was a match almost too close to call, with both teams working the goalkeepers a couple of times and possession quite equal. It takes just one moment to change a game of football though, and Kenneth Omeruo demonstrated that as he bagged the winner in the seventy-third minute of the affair, helping his nation to top-spot in the group and making the country of Nigeria believe that this could be their year.
Madagascar should have everyone available for selection on Sunday, as there appears to be no major injury concerns within the camp. We can see them beginning in a 4-1-3-2 formation with Pascal Razakananten and Thomas Fontaine as centre backs, while Ancient Abel will sit as a deep lying midfielder in front of the defence. Ilaimaharitra, Lalaina Nomenjanahar and Ibrahim Amada should play as a three man attacking midfield to support Carolus Andriamahitsi and Faneva Andriatsima up top.
Super Eagles striker Victor Osimhen sustained a minor injury, however he is still expected to take part in this fixture against Madagascar as it is not believed to be serious. There are no other injury worries for the side, and they are predicted to start in a 4-2-3-1. Kenneth Omeruo is expected to take up his position as left centre back along with William Troost-Ekong, and Oghenekaro Etebo will protect the defence with help from Leicester City midfielder Wilfried Ndidi. Further up the pitch, Ahmed Musa, Alex Iwobi and Moses Simon are all likely to create chances for Paul Onuachu, who is a lone striker.
Nigeria are yet to see a goal go against them during the course of this year’s AFCON, and Madagascar are not particularly prolific in front of goal. It is now three games and three clean sheets in a row for the Super Eagles, so Skybet’s price of 15/8 for Nigeria to win to nil looks good. It wouldn’t come as a surprise if Nigeria were to sit back and take any pressure that Madagascar intend to put on their opponents as they don’t need to get a win here. Then, they can strike on the counter attack and score late on, similar to their opening matches. A 1-0 result in favour of Nigeria is 4/1 with Skybet. That bet goes perfectly with our next tip – Nigeria to win by exactly one goal at 5/2 with Skybet – and we think you should get right on that one due to the fact Nigeria have come out victorious by a solitary goal in each of their past three games.