AFCON2023: Wasteful Nigeria Draw Equatorial Guinea In Group A Opener

Nigeria Super Eagles on Sunday played out a 1-1 draw against group A opponent, Equatorial Guinea, at the Olympic Stadium of Ebimpé.

Nigeria spurned a glorious chance to break the deadlock in the 11th minute. However, when presented with the simple task of finding the back of an empty net, Zaidu Sanusi inexplicably managed to misfire wide of the mark

Nevertheless, there was nothing that the super eagles Goalkeeper, Stanley Nwabili could do to prevent Equatorial Guinea from taking the lead against the run of play in the 36th minute, as Iván Salvador delightfully guided the ball into the bottom corner from his position on the penalty spot.

Remarkably and swiftly, it took Nigeria just two minutes to manufacture a well-crafted equaliser.

CAF 2023 Footballer of the Year, Victor Osimhen rose at the back post to powerfully head home Ademola Lookman’s deliciously floated delivery.

Seeking to qualify for a 15th consecutive knockout stage appearance in the AFCON, Nigeria flew out of the traps for the start of the second half, but the quick-thinking of Equatorial Guinea Jesús Owono denied respective one-on-one efforts from Sanusi and then Osimhen from finding the back of the net.

The goalkeeper again came to the rescue of his side on the verge of the final 20 minutes, as he kept out Ola Aina’s single-handed strike with a smart save.

With time running out for Nigeria to avoid a somewhat humbling result, all eyes were on Osimhen to deliver the goods. However, the Napoli striker’s finishing would let him down at the crucial moment, as he frustratingly mis-cued the Super Eagles final goal scoring opportunity.

A share of the spoils hands Equatorial Guinea their first-ever point against Nigeria in an international tournament.

Equatorial Guinea also extended their unbeaten record in all competitions to seven matches.

For the three time AFCON champions, Nigeria, they will surely want to bounce back against hosts Ivory Coast on Thursday, with the Elephants already sitting top of Group A after beating Guinea Bissau on Saturday.

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