Sports Mole previews Thursday’s African Nations Championship clash between Congo and Niger, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
It is third versus fourth in Group B of the Total African Nations Championship, as the Mena of Niger square off against Congo at the Japoma Stadium in Douala.
Congo will be looking to grab their first point at the tournament after suffering a 1-0 loss to Congo DR in their group opener, while Niger could go top of Group B with a win.
Niger will be kicking themselves after playing out an uneventful goalless draw in Friday’s group opener against Libya, where they saw a goal ruled out for offside by referee Daniel Nii Ayi Laryea.
The Mena created a number of goalscoring chances, however, Issa Djibrilla and Ibrahim Boubacar both fell guilty of wastefulness, as they repeatedly failed to hit the target.
Head coach Harouna Doula Gabde will, however, take positives from his side’s performance, particularly at the other end of the pitch, where the Libyans were kept at bay the entire 90 minutes.
Gabde’s men face an out-of-sorts Congo side on Thursday evening, knowing they can temporarily go top of Group B with four points and edge closer to the quarter-finals.
Congo suffered a 1-0 defeat at the hands of regional neighbors Congo DR, after TP Mazembe midfielder Chico Kubanza struck past goalkeeper Pavelh Ndzila early in the second half.
The Red Devils are making their third appearance at the continental tournament, with the quarter-finals exit of 2018 their best-ever finish to date.
Head coach Valdo Candido Oliveira is under pressure to get the desired result against Niger, as chances of progressing from the group largely depends on the outcome of this tie.
In their last two meetings, Congo have picked up one win and a draw, and they will look to continue this run in order to progress to the next stage of the tournament.
Congo African Nations Championship form: L
Congo form (all competitions): LWDDWL
Niger African Nations Championship form: D
Niger form (all competitions): WLDWLD
Harouna Doula Gabde is unlikely to make changes to the Niger side that grabbed a point against Libya.
Mamane Souleymane could come in for Ibrahim Boubacar, however, after the 21-year-old’s lethargic display in front of goal.
Congo head coach Valdo Candido Oliveira has a full squad to select from following an injury-free clash with Congo DR
Prince Obongo will push for his first start at the tournament, after coming off the bench to deliver an impressive performance on Sunday.
Congo possible starting lineup:
Ndzila; Mapata, Ondongo, Rozan, Bissiki; Obongo, Matondo, Ossete, Ngouonimba; Ngatsongo, Ngombe
Niger possible starting lineup:
Oumarou; Harouna, Souley, Koudize, Mamoudou; Goumey, Badamassi, Darankoum, Djibrilla; Moussa, Souleymane
We say: Congo 0-2 Niger
Niger will make up for their disappointing display against Libya, where they failed to take their chances, while also leaving with a clean sheet, thanks to their solid defensive organisation.
Top betting tip
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