Wasteful Super Eagles fail to beat Nzalang Nacional

Wasteful Super Eagles fail to beat Nzalang Nacional
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The Super Eagles started their AFCON 2023 campaign with a game against the Nzalang Nacional, seeking to grab their first three points.

The lowly-rated Guineans wanted to prove they were no pushovers against their more accomplished opponents.

With the Super Eagles reeling under the weight of expectations and their recent poor results, the onus was on them to take the game to their opponents.

With Ivory Coast winning their opening game against Guinea Bissau, Nigeria needed to win at all costs.

The Super Eagles played a 1-1 draw with the Nzalang Nacional of Equatorial Guinea.

Serie A connection spares Super Eagle's blushes in the first half

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The Super Eagles started quickly, with Alex Iwobi taking the first shot in anger in the first minute from outside the box, but it was an easy catch for the Equatorial Guinea goalkeeper.

Iwobi was the chief designer for the Nigerian side, and in the third minute, he tried to unlock the Guinean defence, but his cross was inaccurate.

The Nzalang Nacional were not lying low. They tried to take the game to the Super Eagles.

The early pressure came from the Super Eagles, forcing the Nzalang Nacional to sit deep and defend their territory.

The Super Eagles got their first real chance in the tenth minute. A sweet cross from the right found Zaidu Sanusi unmarked in the box, but he sidestepped it out for a goal kick.

The Nzalang Nacional was unsettling the Super Eagles with their physical approach to the game, but the more illustrious Nigerians were still more dangerous.

By the 20th minute, the Guineans were gaining a foothold in the game, much to the displeasure of the Nigerian supporters.

Victor Osimhen got a good chance in the 29th minute, but his header was wayward.

The Super Eagles got punished for their lackadaisical approach in the 36th minute.

After a dogged build-up play, Ivan Salvador placed the ball beyond the reach of Stanley Nwabali.

The Super Eagles responded almost immediately. Victor Osimhen met Ademola Lookman's floated cross with a fine header to get the equalizer.

It was Victor Osimhen's 17th goal for the Super Eagles.

Nigeria came close to getting a second goal in added time. After good build-up play, Moses Simon's shot was palmed against the upright by goalkeeper Owono.

Disappointing second half by the Super Eagles

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The Super Eagles started the second half with a golden opportunity to take the lead, but Victor Osimhen and Ademola Lookman could not sort out their legs.

The Super Eagles had another chance in the 53rd minute after a break, but Sanusi shot tamely at Owono. The rebound was also wasted by Lookman.

Osimhen was on target a moment later, but Owono was the hero again, keeping out his shot.

The first ten minutes of the second half were all Super Eagles, but they could not make their chances count.

Ola Aina had a shot in the 66th minute, but the feet of Owono kept his shot out.

With about 20 minutes left to play, Peseiro had seen enough. He brought Samuel Chukwueze and Joe Aribo for Moses Simon and Alhassan Yusuf.

By the 75th minute, the Super Eagles had gotten enough chances to be clear ahead, but with the clearest chance, Osimhen blazed wide with Owono at his mercy.

Nigeria vs Equatorial Guinea Lineups

Nigeria:
Stanley Nwabali (GK), Ola Aina, Zaidu Sanusi, Alhassan Abdullahi, William Troost Ekong, Semi Ajayi, Frank Onyeka, Alex Iwobi, Victor Osimhen, Moses Simon, Ademola Lookma

Subs:
Francis Uzoho, Ahmed Musa, Joe Aribo, Samuel Chukwueze, Bright Osayi Samuel, Bruno Onyemaechi, Kelechi Iheanacho, Calvin Bassey, Chidozie Awaziem, Paul Onuachu, Kenneth Omeruo, Raphael Onyedika

Equatorial Guinea
Jesús Owono, Carlos Akapo, Esteban Orozco Fernandez, Saúl Coco, Basilio Ndong, Pablo Ganet, Federico Bikoro, Jannick Buyla, Jose Machin, Iban Salvador, Emilio Nsue

Subs:
Sapunga Mbara, Aitor Embela Gil, Luis Asue, Santiago Eneme, Nestor Senra, Noé Ela, Alex Balboa, Charles Ondo, Jose Elo, Marvin Anieboh, Oscar Siafa, Jose Nabil

Nigeria vs Equatorial Guinea Fulltime Stats
  Nigeria Equatorial Guinea
Shots on target 7 1
Shots off target 6 4
Blocked Shots 0 1
Possession (%) 49 51
Corner Kicks 2 3
Offsides 3 2
Fouls 11 11
Throw ins 25 18
Yellow cards 1 2
Goalkeeper saves 0 6
Goal kicks 7 11

This article was most recently revised and updated 6 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. Chooka has a passion for football and has been a fan of Enugu Rangers (over 30 years) and Real Madrid (Since 1996).