Wednesday's action at the Africa Cup of Nations sees Group D conclude with two heavyweights seemingly set for the knockout phase.

Egypt certainly have not been without their critics in this tournament, with the performances turned in by Carlos Queiroz's men far from spectacular, but they remain on the brink of progression.

Assuming they get the job done, they will join Nigeria in the next round after the Super Eagles won both of their first two matches.

The two giants of AFCON football will be expected to prevail on Wednesday.

Guinea-Bissau v Nigeria (19:00 GMT)

Considering Nigeria have come into this tournament essentially under the guidance of a caretaker manager in Augustine Eguavoen, the Nigerian Football Federation's technical director, they have made a very solid start.

They head into matchday three with six points from two games and have the chance to win all three first-round matches for the first time since 2006.

Nigeria will be massive favourites as well. Guinea-Bissau have never won an AFCON game in eight attempts, with only Benin (14), Mozambique (12) and Namibia (nine) playing more tournament matches without a single success.

Their issue this time around has been an obvious wastefulness in front of goal, failing to score from 16 shots that convert to an expected goals (xG) total of 2.2 – if they are goalless in this game, Guinea-Bissau will become the first team in AFCON history to go seven successive matches without scoring.

One to watch: Taiwo Awoniyi (Nigeria)

Union Berlin forward Awoniyi may be a relatively new face at international level, but he has looked a prominent threat for Nigeria. His nine shots over the first two games was more than twice as many as any other Super Eagles player, while his 14 touches in the opposition's box is also the most of anyone in the squad. Still, one goal from 2.4 xG suggests he could sharpen up a little.

 

Egypt v Sudan (19:00 GMT)

A point will be enough for the Pharaohs to follow Nigeria into the knockouts, though their defeat to Eguavoen's men means second place is the best they can hope for.

Egypt have looked every inch a side reliant on Mohamed Salah in this tournament, with his goal against Guinea-Bissau last time out breathing some life into their campaign.

While a draw will be enough for them, in reality only a win over Sudan will satisfy the expectations of supporters.

Sudan's xG total (1.25) and xGA (expected goals against) of 3.17 are the worst of the four teams in Group D, and Egypt will hope to capitalise on their lack of defensive solidity and attacking threat.

One to watch: Ali Achrine (Sudan)

If Sudan are to stand any chance of beating Egypt and potentially going through to the knockout phase, goalkeeper Achrine will surely need to be in inspired form.

 

Mohamed Salah scored the only goal of the game to give Egypt a much-needed Africa Cup of Nations victory against Guinea-Bissau at the Roumde Adjia Stadium on Saturday.

The Liverpool star struck a precise volley midway through the second half to secure his side's first points of the tournament.

The Pharaohs breathed a sigh of relief late on, though, when an apparent equaliser from Mama Balde was ruled out after a lengthy VAR check for a foul by the goalscorer on Omar Kamal.

Salah had struggled to make an impression in Egypt's opening defeat against Nigeria after being played down the middle, but the 29-year-old was back in his favoured position on the right side here and gave a hint that it could pay off in just the second minute as he received the ball in space before cutting inside and firing a shot against the near post.

Fali Cande hit a free-kick over the bar after 11 minutes for Guinea-Bissau, before Egypt hit the same part of the same post again when a nice move between Salah, Omar Marmoush and Mostafa Mohamed saw the latter's shot deflect away off the woodwork.

Egypt head coach Carlos Quieroz made changes to his team in the second half, including moving Salah back into the middle, and it worked as a clipped ball in the 69th minute into the box from Amr El Soleya found Salah, whose left-footed volley squirmed under Guinea-Bissau goalkeeper Jonas Mendes.

Quieroz's men hit the post for a third time through Zizo, before Balde got away from Kamal and hit a tremendous shot into the far right corner, but a VAR check saw the goal disallowed for a foul on the defender as Egypt went second in Group D with one game to go.

The Africa Cup of Nations continues on Saturday with two mouthwatering games from Group D.

After 10 of the first 14 games of this year's competition finished 1-0, it was a nice change of pace that none of the four clashes on Friday did, but all four of the teams playing on Saturday would no doubt happily take a 1-0 in their favour.

Nigeria will be looking to follow up their impressive opening 1-0 win (naturally) against Egypt when they face Sudan, while Mohamed Salah and the Pharaohs will be aiming to bounce back against Guinea-Bissau.

Nigeria v Sudan

These two nations are meeting for the third time at the Africa Cup of Nations, but it will be their first encounter at the tournament for 46 years. Sudan won the first match 4-0 in the 1963 group phase, while Nigeria won 1-0 in 1976.

The Super Eagles will be looking to continue their impressive AFCON record in recent times, having won 10 of their last 12 games (L2), keeping six clean sheets.

Following a goalless draw in their opening match against Guinea-Bissau, Sudan have now managed just one win in their last 14 AFCON games (D6 L7), dating back to the 1972 tournament.

After scoring the only goal of the game against Egypt, and in his very first Africa Cup of Nations game, Leicester City's Kelechi Iheanacho could become the first Nigerian player to net in his first two AFCON appearances since Emmanuel Emenike in January 2013.       

One to watch: Samuel Chukwueze

The Villarreal winger made four key passes against Egypt, more than twice as many as anyone else in the game. The 22-year-old has two goals and an assist from 12 appearances this season in LaLiga, as well as averaging one chance created per game.

Guinea-Bissau v Egypt

This will be the first AFCON encounter between Guinea-Bissau and Egypt, but neither side come into it with anything like good form.

Guinea-Bissau remain winless in their seven matches at AFCON (D3 L4) and could become the seventh side not to win any of their first eight matches in the competition after Angola, Benin, Kenya, Mozambique, Namibia and Uganda.

Egypt have lost two consecutive AFCON games for the first time since 2002. In fact, they have lost three of their last six in the competition, more than in their previous 29 combined (W21 D6 L2).

Guinea-Bissau have failed to score in five consecutive AFCON games. The only side to ever go six without scoring in the competition was Kenya in 1990.

One to watch: Mohamed Salah

Salah seems like the obvious pick but then the Liverpool star has scored 16 goals in the Premier League this season, six more than anyone else, and will no doubt want to improve on the solitary shot he managed against Nigeria.

Pele had a late penalty saved as Sudan and Guinea-Bissau drew 0-0 in their opening match of this year's Africa Cup of Nations.

The spoils were shared following a generally low-key Group D encounter that burst into life towards the end at Stade Omnisport de Garoua.

Chances were few and far between during the first half. The best opportunity saw Joseph Mendes' 16th-minute header hit the post for Guinea-Bissau, who were seeking their first victory in three appearances at the tournament.

Meanwhile, in their first appearance for a decade, 1970 champions Sudan were aiming to record only their second win in 14 matches since lifting the trophy 52 years ago.

Guinea-Bissau were presented with a great chance to take all three points when Ali Aboeshren clattered into Steve Ambri 11 minutes from time.

But the goalkeeper atoned for his error, guessing correctly to deny Pele before Frederic Mendy's rebound crashed against the crossbar.

Mendy then had a shot cleared off the line as the Djurtus turned up the pressure, but their opponents held out for a first clean sheet at the tournament since their 1970 final triumph.

Tuesday will be a day of contrasts as defending champions Algeria begin their Africa Cup of Nations title defence against a Sierra Leone side returning to the competition after a 26-year absence.

Algeria will be unequivocal favourites as they look to begin Group E in positive fashion, with Djamel Belmadi's men unbeaten in 34 competitive matches.

Their success in last month's Arab Cup contributed to that run and provided part of their squad with a solid period of preparation.

But the biggest game of the day will take place between Group D rivals Nigeria and Egypt, who will both be hoping to make early statements in their respective title bids.

Algeria v Sierra Leone (13:00 GMT)

It is déjà vu for Sierra Leone, as they faced Algeria – their only previous AFCON meeting – when they last qualified for the competition back in 1996.

But AFCON stalwarts Algeria will be massive favourites here as they begin their 19th participation in the tournament, aiming to become the first team to win back-to-back titles since Egypt's three in a row between 2006 and 2010.

Few will envy the task on Sierra Leone's hands, with Algeria having scored more goals (19) in qualifying than any of the 24 teams in Cameroon.

If they avoid defeat on Tuesday, Algeria will beat their previous best unbeaten run (eight matches) at the AFCON.

One to watch: Said Benrahma (Algeria)

The Fennec Foxes' squad is packed full of experience and quality, with as many as five players boasting double-figures for international goals. West Ham star Benrahma is yet to establish himself among their key players, but this season has found another level in the Premier League, his nine non-penalty goal involvements being bettered by only seven forwards.

 

Nigeria v Egypt (16:00 GMT)

On paper, Group D looks very tough to call – this encounter could at least give us an idea of who is likeliest to finish top.

Either way, this is a proper heavyweight duel between two of the AFCON's most-recognisable nations.

This will be Egypt's 25th appearance at the AFCON, more than any other country, and they are aiming to win it for a record-extending eighth success.

But Nigeria's pedigree is similarly impressive given the fact they have reached the semi-finals in 14 of the previous 16 tournaments.

If they do emerge victorious on Tuesday, it will end Egypt's 16-match group stage unbeaten run, which dates back to 2004.

One to watch: Mohamed Salah (Egypt)

Obvious? Perhaps. Justified? Absolutely. Many would argue Salah has been the best player in the world over the past year, and so he has high expectations to meet here. No other player in Carlos Queiroz's squad has more than seven international goals and despite only being 29, he's at least four years older than any other forward in the selection – and let us not forget, he already has 25 Premier League goal involvements this term, 12 more than anyone else.

 

Sudan v Guinea-Bissau (19:00 GMT)

Sudan will be hoping it is a happy return to Africa's biggest tournament as they prepare for a first outing since the 2012 edition.

Ending a run of no clean sheets in the competition since beating Ghana 2-0 in the 1970 final would certainly go along way to giving them a platform to build on over the next month.

Since that success 52 years ago, Sudan have only picked up three wins from a possible 13, but they will not head into the fixture scared of Guinea-Bissau, even though they lost to them 4-2 as recently as September.

Baciro Cande's men have finished bottom in each of their previous two AFCON appearances and go into this game without a goal in 437 minutes in the competition, the worst goalless run of this year's participants.

One to watch: Mohamed Abdelrahman (Sudan)

The Falcons of Jediane will be pinning most of their hopes on striker Abdelrahman, who scored a third of their nine goals in the qualification campaign.

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