Algerian Carl Medjani (R)vies with Nigerian William Ekong during a World Cup 2018 qualifying football match between Algeria and Nigeria at Mohamed-Hamlaoui Stadium in Constantine on November 11, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / RYAD KRAMDI
Morocco v Nigeria @ASFAR Sports Center @5:30 p.m. on Aug.23
The football event in Group A at the 12th All Africa Games is delicately poised with no team guaranteed passage to the second round.
The Nigerian team, led by Paul Aigbogun, acknowledged it will be tough against the hosts but a point should ensure passage into the semi-final.
After the draw against Burkina Faso in their opening encounter, the U-23 team beat South Africa 2-1 to put a foot in the next round.
They must ensure they don’t lose as the Moroccans with three points from two games need a win to guarantee their own passage.
Current Form: Morocco [W-L]; Nigeria [W-D]
Prediction: Morocco 2-2 Nigeria
Liverpool v Arsenal @Anfield @5:30 p.m. on Aug.24
The only teams left with a perfect record after two weeks in the English Premiership lock horns on Sunday at Anfield where Arsenal have conceded 12 goals in their last three visits.
Liverpool have won three out of four matches this season – losing on penalties to Manchester City in the Community Shield but winning the UEFA Super Cup on penalties against Chelsea.
The Reds have scored six goals in their two opening games while the Gunners have scored thrice and conceded once.
Unai Emery’s credentials for the new season will be tested as Jurgen Klopp and his men seek to stay ahead of Pep Guardiola’s City.
Current Form: Liverpool [W-W-W-L-W]; Arsenal [W-W-L-W-L]
Head to head
29/12/18 PRL Liverpool 5 – 1 Arsenal
03/11/18 PRL Arsenal 1 – 1 Liverpool
22/12/17 PRL Arsenal 3 – 3 Liverpool
27/08/17 PRL Liverpool 4 – 0 Arsenal
04/03/17 PRL Liverpool 3 – 1 Arsenal
Prediction: Liverpool 3-1 Arsenal
Fiorentina v Napoli @Artemio Franchi @7:45 p.m. on Aug.24
The new Serie A season starts with Napoli considered as the closest challengers to Juventus and Fiorentina is a good place to test that tag.
Carlo Ancelotti will have to make do with starting Dries Mertens because Arkadiusz Milik has minor muscular issues while Mauro Icardi is yet to be snagged.
For Fiorentina, it is another clean slate, as Vincenzo Montella hopes new president, Rocco Commisso, will carry out his ambitious blueprint. But a start against the second-best team in Italy should prove a daunting task.
Current Form: Fiorentina [W-W-W-L-L]; Napoli [L-L-W-W-D]
Head to head
09/02/19 SEA Fiorentina 0 – 0 Napoli
15/09/18 SEA Napoli 1 – 0 Fiorentina
29/04/18 SEA Fiorentina 3 – 0 Napoli
10/12/17 SEA Napoli 0 – 0 Fiorentina
20/05/17 SEA Napoli 4 – 1 Fiorentina
Prediction: Fiorentina 2-4 Napoli
Benfica v FC Porto @Estádio da Luz @8 p.m. on Aug.25
The 171st ‘O Classico’ [the classic] needs no introduction. There is added edge as Benfica already have a three-point lead over their eternal rivals. A loss for Porto will mean a six-point gap after just three matches.
Both teams have goal scorers in Pizzi and Ze Luis, who have bagged three goals already in the two-week campaign.
But the Bruno Lage-coached Benfica team, last season league winners, have been buoyed by winning the International Champions Cup and thrashing Sporting Lisbon 5-0 in the Super Cup.
Porto’s manager, Sergio Conceicao, thus has a tough task motivating his team to get at least a point from Estadio Da Luz.
Current Form: Benfica [W-W-W-W-W]; Porto [W-L-L-W-L]
Head to head
02/03/19 PRL FC Porto 1 – 2 Benfica
22/01/19 TDL Benfica 1 – 3 FC Porto
07/10/18 PRL Benfica 1 – 0 FC Porto
15/04/18 PRL Benfica 0 – 1 FC Porto
01/12/17 PRL FC Porto 0 – 0 Benfica
Prediction: Benfica 4 -1 FC Porto