Super Eagles begins 2023 AFCON with 1-1 draw against Equatorial Guinea 

NIGERIA’S senior men football team- Super Eagles began their 2023 African Cup of Nations, AFCON campaign on Sunday, January 14, with a 1-1 draw against Equatorial Guinea in the group-stage encounter.

The match was played at the Alassane Ouattara Olympic Stadium in Abidjan.

Before the blast of the referee to kick off the match, the Super Eagles’ squad saw the introduction of newly invited goalkeeper Stanley Nwabali who replaced much-pressured Francis Uzoho.

Six minutes into the match, the Super Eagles dominated possessions after a string of passes coordinated by the box to box midfielders Kelechi Iwobi and newly invited Alhassan Yusuf who replaced injured Wilfred Ndidi.

After a series of surges to give Nigeria the lead, the Super Eagles could have gotten an early lead through a square play from the right flank but defender Zaida Sanusi’s efforts went wide.

It was a surprise in the 36 minutes as Equatorial Guinea broke the deadlock after Ivan Edu who was left unmarked slotted the ball past the Super Eagles goalkeeper to give his country the lead.

But the euphoria of their lead was short-lived as Victor Oshimen restored parity after he rose high to nod in Ademola Lookman’s cross two minutes later.

After the goals, the tempo of the match increased as the Super Eagles pressured the opposition through attacks to double the lead before the end of the first half but their attempts proved abortive.

10 minutes after the resumption of the second half, Equatorial Guinea goalkeeper Jesus Owono who won the match award proved his qualities as he denied Sanusi, Oshimen and Ola Aina attempts.

In the sixty minutes, Yusuf Alhassan could not continue the match as he was stretched out of the pitch after signaling an injury.

He was replaced by Joe Aribo while Moses Simon was substituted for Samuel Chukwueze.

In the seventy-six minutes, Oshimen missed a one-on-one opportunity, placing the ball in the wrong place.






     

     

    Nigeria’s Super Eagles explored all their arsenal to double the lead but lacked the requisite technical know-how to convert their chances.

    It would be recalled that the Super Eagles started their campaign with a 1-1 draw against Burkina Faso in their first match at the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations.

    Nigeria is currently in third position in Group A with 1 point.

    They will face the host- Cote d’Ivoire who are currently on the top of Group A with 3 points on Thursday, January 18, 2023.

     

     

     

     

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