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Alhassan out, Iheanacho doubtful as Peseiro dreams victory over Cote d’Ivoire

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Nigeria’s best player in the Super Eagles’ opening game against Equatorial Guinea at the ongoing Africa Cup of Nations, Alhassan Yusuf, will not play any part in today’s cracker against the hosts.

Yusuf copped an injury in the game, which ended in a 1-1 draw on Monday.
Speaking in the pre-match conference yesterday in Abidjan, Coach Jose Peseiro said the Royale Antwerp of Belgium’s defensive midfielder has not recovered from the injury, but could be ready for the last game against Guinea Bissau.

“Yusuf is out of tomorrow’s game. There are no other injuries. It’s good news from yesterday. But for this match, he is not ready, but in the next game, he can be,” he said.

Peseiro revealed that Terem Moffi and Kelechi Iheanacho have integrated into the team, adding, however, that Iheanacho has been training alone on the advice of the doctors.

The Super Eagles were roundly condemned by their fans for their tepid performance in the first game, which saw them coming from behind to hold Equatorial Guinea to a draw, in their opening Group A game.

Before the game, many pundits, including supporters of Equatorial Guinea, gave Nigeria the game by some margin because, on paper, the Super Eagles were far above the Nzalang Nationale. Although the Nigerians had the better of possession and many opportunities to wrap up the game, they still struggled to a 1-1 draw.

Peseiro said the team have forgotten the game against Equatorial Guinea and are now focused on the game against Cote d’Ivoire.
“As I said after the first game, God gives, God takes. We created many chances to beat Equatorial Guinea, but it did not happen. We believe in our system and I can tell you that we will play well today.”

Cote d’Ivoire top Group A with three points, while Nigeria is joint second with Equatorial Guinea on one point.

Stand-in Captain, William Troost-Ekong, has urged Nigerians to continue supporting the team as they seek to beat the hosts at the Allassane Quatarra Stadium in a game they need to get at least a draw to still remain in contention for the second round.

“We went all out to pick the three points against Equatorial Guinea, but it didn’t happen. We live to fight another day. From our side, we are appealing to Nigerians from all over the world to keep supporting and believing in the team. Our objective is to first reach the knockout rounds and then we push strongly from there.”

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