The Super Eagles of Nigeria were held to a 1-1 draw by Equatorial Guinea yesterday in their opening Group A match of the ongoing 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) in Ivory Coast.
Playing at the Stade Olympique Alassane Ouattara, the Nigerians started off brightly, dominating proceedings early on. Several missed chances, however, proved costly as Equatorial Guinea gradually grew into the game.
The deadlock was broken in the 37th minute when Equatorial Guinean striker Iban Salvador clinically finished past Super Eagles goalkeeper and surprise starter Stanley Nwabali.
Shell-shocked, Nigeria responded almost immediately through striker Victor Osimhen, who headed in an equaliser two minutes later off a cross from Ademola Lookman.
The second half saw both teams scrap for the winner, but several glaring misses, especially from Osimhen, meant the scores remained level at the final whistle.
Speaking after the match, Super Eagles coach Jose Peseiro rued the missed opportunities while praising the resilience of his boys. “We did everything to win, we created many and clear opportunities, and we simply deserved to win,” he said.
Nigeria faces hosts Ivory Coast next on Thursday by 6:00 PM (Nigerian time), while Equatorial Guinea battles Guinea-Bissau.