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Brazil vs Nigeria: Where will the game be won and lost?

15:18 GMT+3 12/10/2019
Super Eagles - Nigeria
Though not a competitive game, both teams are eager for the best of results in Singapore

Nigeria will face Brazil on Sunday in Singapore as part of the two-match global tour by the five-time World Cup holders.

Many are understandably excited to see the two continental powerhouses rub shoulders especially after naming strong squads for the high-profile international friendly.

While an outright prediction on what Sunday’s outcome would be may prove to be an arduous task, there could be some insights into where the game will be won and lost.

It is worthy to note that Brazil have not won in their last three matches preceding the clash with Nigeria on Sunday. Last Thursday, they were held to a 1-1 draw by Senegal.

Battle of goalkeepers

For Nigeria and Brazil, the goalkeeping section remains a knotty issue yet to be solved. For the Samba Boys, injured Liverpool goalkeeper Allison seems to be their more trusted hand. The last victory, as well as a clean sheet, were all achieved with Allison.  

However, with Ederson Moraes stepping into the picture, it has not been rosy as Brazil conceded in their last three games and failed to register a clean sheet with the Manchester City man in-between the goalposts.

In eight games in the Premier League this season, Ederson has managed just three clean sheets with his last outing ending in a shock 0-2 defeat. If the Super Eagles play their cards well, they can help extend the seemingly poor run of the 26-year-old with the Brazil team.

While Brazil have their problems, it looks worse for Nigeria as this area remains a problematic one especially with the inconsistent performances of the past choices.

Francis Uzoho showed great improvements the last time against Ukraine, if he improves on that, then it would be good for Nigeria but by and large, the keepers will have a huge role to play in Sunday’s game going by the attacking prospects of the three-time African champions as well as the five-time world champions

Who will be more clinical?

For punters, the Brazil-Nigeria game should provide goals going by attacking prowess of both teams and defensive shortcomings.

Brazil have scored an average of two goals a game this year – 12 in total. Nigeria on their part have scored ten goals this year – and the Super Eagles aren’t all that super at the back either.

Nigeria have conceded twice (eight) as many goals as Brazil (four).

While the Super Eagles will be banking on Victor Osimhen upfront going by his superlative form for Lille, where he has scored eight goals in as many games, Neymar is worthy of being banked on by Brazil, especially with his new centurion status.

The game may well be won or lost more by who is more clinical in front of goal.

The Bench

The right tactics, approach as well as selection by Gernot Rohr and his opposite number Tite could also determine where the pendulum of victory will swing to in Sunday’s game.

Both managers need a good result in Sunday’s game to boost the waning confidence in their abilities.

Tite outrightly expressed displeasure with the result and overall performance of his players against Senegal and has challenged them to up their game when they face the Super Eagles.

“I am not pleased with the result and overall performance (against Senegal) as they were not what I was looking for. We have more to do for a better show against Nigeria on Sunday,” Tite told reporters in Singapore.

For Rohr, he believes the Brazil game is a chance to show he and his youthful team are on the right path to greatness.

“The game against Brazil will show how much we are progressing after finishing third at the Africa Cup in Egypt," he told the media.

“It is a fantastic opportunity for us to learn a few more things that will make us better and stronger for future challenges.”

In all, while many will see Brazil as the favourites going into Sunday’s friendly against Nigeria, the tie could be won or lost by either of the two teams.