In their quest for a 20th Africa Cup of Nations appearance, Nigeria travel to Liberia where they face Sierra Leone on matchday 5 of the AFCON qualifiers at the Samuel Kanyon Doe Sports Complex, Liberia on Sunday (today), PUNCH Sports Extra reports.

While victory will guarantee the Super Eagles their place in Ivory Coast, the Leone Stars head into the encounter needing all three points to keep their hopes of securing successive AFCON appearances for the first time since 1996.

The Eagles are currently second on the log after Guinea-Bissau secured a 1-0 win over Sao Tome and Principe on Thursday to move top of the table with 10 points, while Sierra Leone are third with five points from four matches as well.

The Eagles won the last encounter between the two sides 2-1 at the Moshood Abiola National Stadium, Abuja, on June 9, 2022, as goals from Alex Iwobi and Victor Osimhen helped the Eagles cancel out Jonathan Morsay’s early strike.

Four days after edging John Keister’s side in Abuja, the three-time Africa recorded a convincing 10-0 win over Sao Tome and Principe at the Stade Adrar in Morocco.

Jose Peseiro’s men would go on a run of four defeats on the bounce, losing to Algeria, Costa Rica and Portugal in three successive friendly matches, before falling to a disappointing 1-0 loss to Guinea-Bissau in their return to the AFCON qualifiers in March on March 24.

Three days after suffering the shock defeat at home, a first-half Moses Simo strike from the penalty spot helped the Eagles return to winning ways in the second game of their group double-header against the Djurtus.

A victory for Nigeria will see them return to the top of their Group A, albeit with one game in hand, and could seal their spot in Ivory Coast with all three points.

Peseiro’s men head into the game with so much confidence having failed to lose to the Leone Stars in their six meetings — winning four and claiming two draws — and have lost just two of their last 17 encounters since April 1961.

Sierra Leone on their own part are motivated heading into the game knowing full well that a win will put their AFCON dreams back on track.

After a poor start to their qualifying campaign, Sierra Leone have turned their fortunes around and put themselves in contention for a place in Ivory Coast later this year.

Following their group opener defeat to Nigeria, Keister’s men fought back from two goals down to salvage a 2-2 draw against 10-man Guinea Bissau on home soil.

The Leone Stars returned to action in the qualifiers on March 22, when they came from behind twice to force a 2-2 draw with Sao Tome and Principe, four days before edging out Adriano Eusebio’s men 2-0 in the second of their double-header at the Adrar Stadium.

Third in the group and four points adrift of second-placed Nigeria, a victory will see Sierra Leone close the gap and have all to play for in their last qualifier against Guinea Bissau.

Peseiro invited the attacking trio of Alex Iwobi, Ademola Lookman and Kelechi Iheanacho but all eyes will be on Victor Osimhen, who fired Napoli to their first Italian Serie A title since 1990, and the 24-year-old will be looking to add to his 15 international goals.

Ahmed Musa, who is Nigeria’s most-capped player with 108 senior appearances, should be named on the bench.

Peseiro invited the attacking trio of Alex Iwobi, Ademola Lookman and Kelechi Iheanacho but all eyes will be on Victor Osimhen, who fired Napoli to their first Italian Serie A title since 1990, and the 24-year-old will be looking to add to his 15 international goals.

Ahmed Musa, who is Nigeria’s most-capped player with 108 senior appearances, should be named on the bench.

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