Nigeria vs Atletico Madrid – Why did it happen and who won?

Nigeria vs Atletico Madrid – Why did it happen and who won?
Credit: Icon Sport

With the clamour for the inclusion of home-based players into the Super Eagles squad to AFCON at a crescendo, the Nigeria vs Atletico Madrid match comes to mind.

The Nigeria vs Atletico Madrid match was a chance for the locally-based talent and some foreign-based players with few opportunities to showcase their talent and prove they were worthy of the Super Eagles.

The game was played at the Godswill Akpabio International Stadium Uyo in May 2018, with the Nigeria B team losing 2-3.

Despite not playing a full-strength side, the Spanish giants showed the Nigerian lads that they still had some way to go in reaching the levels expected of them.

Nigeria vs Atletico Madrid: Why did the game happen?

There have been partnerships between clubs in Africa and Europe, with national associations also forming alliances with sporting entities across the globe.

The Nigeria vs Atletico Madrid match was part of the World Project, in which friendly matches involving La Liga teams all over the World are organized.

The match was a collaboration between LaLiga and MultiChoice Nigeria to give Nigerians a feel of the Spanish Premier division, and it came six days after La Rojiblancos had won the Europa League final.

It was also referred to as the GOTv Max Cup.

It was a worthy test that featured the likes of Jan Oblak and Fernando “El Nino” Torres.

Hill + Knowlton Strategies had the task of creating a campaign and raising awareness about the match.

nigeria vs atletico madrid fernando torres
Credit: Icon Sport

Nigeria vs Atletico Madrid: How the match went

The Nigeria vs Atletico Madrid game was evenly balanced, with the Super Eagles taking the lead in the 32nd minute through Kelechi Nwakali.

La Rojiblancos equalized later on through Angel Correa as the first half finished 1-1.

The second half saw the introduction of Fernando Torres, who played his final game for Atletico Madrid.

Midway through the half, El Nino put La Rojiblancos in front for the first time in the game, but the Super Eagles B team fought back to level matters through Mohammed Usman.

The former Taraba United midfielder meandered through the Atletico defence to score.

The Nigeria vs Atletico Madrid tie lived up to the billing, but the Spanish giants had the last laugh as they got the winner in added time through Borja Graces.

Nigeria vs Atletico Madrid trophy presentation
Credit: Icon Sport

Atletico de Madrid manager Diego Simeone, during his post-match press conference, said: “The Nigerian players gave their all, they gave us a very good game and pushed us right to the end, but we are very happy with the win at the end of the day.”

Several dignitaries saw the Nigeria vs Atletico Madrid match, including President of the Nigerian Football Federation (NFF), Amaju Pinnick, Spanish Ambassador to Nigeria, Marcelino Cabanas Ansorena, Nigerian Super Eagles Head Coach, Gernot Rohr, and LaLiga ambassador, Mutiu Adepoju.

Nigeria vs Atletico Madrid lineup

Nigeria
Femi Thomas, Musa Muhammed, Ebube Duru, Chinedu Ajanah, Olamilekan Adeleye – Ibrahim Alhassan ‘Muazzam’, Kelechi Nwakali, Chidiebre Nwakali, Dayo Ojo – Emem Eduok, Samad Kadiri

This article was most recently revised and updated 2 months ago

Chooka Izuegbuna is a Sports Journalist with 20 years of experience in print, TV and Radio. He has worked with some of the top media houses in Nigeria, including NTA Network, Channels TV, TVC, Silverbird TV and MITV. Chooka broke his sports reporting teeth with The Game Football Weekly in 2003 as a cartoonist and reporter.