Just days after meeting Morocco in Torino, Serbia travel to London for their clash against the other African Nations Championship finalist as they meet Nigeria at the Hive Stadium on Tuesday evening. Mladen Krstajica��s men have impressed in World Cup Qualifiers and now look to build on the consistency against African rivals, which will be no easy task.
Nigeria come into the match after a clash against Poland as they look to bounce back after a disappointing and thrashing 4-0 loss to Morocco in the African Nations Championship Final, which ended a four-game winning and an 11-game unbeaten streak for Gernot Rohra��s men. Theya��ve secured a ticket to the final tournament in Russia too and have high hopes of their own but surely know they have to take it one step at a time.
Serbian Eagles have beaten China PR and held Korea Republic to a 1-1 draw with rotated line-ups back in November but are only just to make the friendly outings count towards high team spirits, as Mladen Krstajic looks for his best 11 ahead of the trip to Russia. Theya��ve been putting on rock-solid displays at the back but still search for their best in the attacking third, which could prove more worrying!
Nigeria will be looking to build on the shock victory over Poland, which will be a huge confidence boost for the Super Eagles.
With Nigeria facing Croatia in Group D of the World Cup in Russia, there is a sort of logic behind this fixture. Whether or not it makes any meaningful difference remains to be seen but, either way, this will offer both sides a good test going into the summer.
Last Time Out
Serbia 1-2 Morocco (International Friendly)
Serbia will be disappointed after they failed to get a result in a tense match with Morocco. The home side, who had only lost once in their previous ten games before the fall to Morocco, will need to see a vast improvement before June as they have one of the tougher groups, consisting of Costa Rica, Switzerland and most worryingly, Brazil.
Serbia fell behind in the 27th minute after Dusan Basta was alleged to have fouled Nordin Amrabat in the box, which gave Hakim Ziyech the chance to convert from the spot, which he did convincingly.
The Eagles werena��t behind for long, though. Some nice build-up play eventually culminating in Adem Ljajic sliding a wonderful ball into the path of Dusan Tadic, and the Southampton forward cooling slotted the ball past the keeper to bring Serbia on level terms just ten minutes later.
They would fail to hold the lead for long, though. Just three minutes after equalising Serbia were behind once more, a beautiful cross by Hakim Ziyech found Khalid Boutaib unmarked in the box, who nodded in from close range.
Serbia werena��t able to get back into the game in the second half and suffered their first friendly defeat since 2016.
Poland 0-1 Nigeria (International Friendly)
Nigeria will have a huge confidence boost coming into this friendly after defeating one of the best sides in Europe last week. The Super Eagles were able to overcome Poland at the Municipal Stadium in Wroclaw and claim the victory in the first ever match between the two sides.
Nigeria were fortunate not to go behind in the opening ten minutes when Poland captain Robert Lewandowski struck the post after the cross from Rafal Kurzawa evaded all defenders and found the Munich man in the box.
However, in the 60th minute, Victor Moses won a penalty after allegedly being tripped by Marcin Kaminski during a mazy run.
Replays showed that Moses was fortunate to earn the penalty rather than getting booked for what seemed a clear dive. The Chelsea wing-back converted the penalty, rolling the ball coolly into the bottom left corner.
The impressive victory means that Nigeria have now won five out of their last six matches in all competitions.
Nigeria vs Serbia: Head-to-head
Nigeria and Serbia havena��t had a chance for a head to head clash before and this will be their first.
Both sides come in great shape and this promises a great contest, with a need for success obvious on both ends.
Serbia come rated 34th on FIFA World Ranking, which is their highest rating since 2013, and Nigeria sit 52nd at this point.
Super Eagles coach Gernot Rohr is without full-back Shehu Abdullahi after he limped out with a hamstring injury.
Serbia head coach Mladen Krstajic may look to experiment after his side fell to Morocco last week, with the option to include Cardiff City midfielder Marko Grujic a possibility to add more attacking capabilities into the midfield.
Key Battle: Wilfred Ndidi (Nigeria) vs Nemanja Matic (Serbia)
If either side want to break through in this tie, ita��ll hinder on this midfield battle. The two powerhouse centre midfielders have the ability to cut out any attacking threat and if the two are on form we may see a goalless draw.
However, with the pace in both midfields on offer, whichever man can come out on top will dictate the tie. The two are experienced in the speed of the Premier League, so whoever is able to adapt first will hold the key in how the game is played out.
The Super Eagles will be coming into the tie full of confidence after their victory over sixth in the world Poland last week and the boost in morale could be the difference. The players will obviously be wanting to capitalise on the win and carrying the momentum forward.
Obviously, Nigeria are considered underdogs heading into the World Cup and if they continue to be putting in high-level performances such as the win over Poland then the Super Eagles will be flying high heading to Russia.
Serbia will not be happy with themselves after a disappointing defeat to Morocco last week and will certainly be out for revenge and unfortunately for Nigeria they are in the firing line. The Serbian team is full of experienced players and bouncing back with a win is vital.
The attacking threat on offer for Serbia means that they really should be looking to bounce back and do so in style, with goals being a key item on the agenda.
The Nigeria Vs Serbia friendly game will be played at the Hive Stadium in London, home of Football League Two club Barnet. Kickoff is 8pm Nigerian time.
The official capacity of the stadium which was opened in July 2013 is 5,176. The stadium first hosted the Super Eagles in March 2017 in a friendly game against Senegal which ended 1-1.