• Tuesday, May 21, 2024
businessday logo


Super Eagles held by Saudi’s Falcons in an international friendly

F8VuIKYWIAEyhHe_700x467 (1)

Three three-time Africa champions, Nigeria’s Super Eagles played a 2-2 draw with Saudi Arabia’s Green Falcons in an international friendly match played on Friday at the Estadio Municipal De Portimao in Portugal.

Salman Al Farajj scored the opening goal for Saudi Arabia from a free kick with a left-footed shot to the top left corner in the 60th minute, but Nigeria responded in the 73rd minute after a super combination by Simon and Boniface that forced Al Nassr defender Abdulelah Al Amri to score an own goal.

Leicester City’s wonder striker Kelechi Iheanacho came on for Chukwueze left footed shot from outside the box to the top left corner. restored the lead for Nigeria in the 81 minute, but the West Asian side struck the equaliser in the extra minute of regulation time.

The friendly match is to prepare the Super Eagles ahead of the 2026 World Cup qualifiers and the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations finals.

Read also Saudi Arabia unveils 31-man squad against Super Eagles for friendly match

Nigeria Head Coach Jose Peseiro opted for a 4-4-2 formation with Simon Ajayi, Tyronne Ebuehi, Calvin Bassey and Bruno Onyemaechi in the back line, Fulham attacking midfielder Alex Iwobi, Wilfred Ndidi, Samuel Chukwueze and Ademola Lookman spearing the midfield, while Victor Boniface, and informed Victor Osimhen lead Nigeria’s attack.

Nigeria dominated play in the first 20 minutes of the match and were pressing but the Green Falcons resisted the Eagles onslaught. Boniface saw his strike saved by the Saudi keeper in the 19th minute of play.

Nigeria pressed harder and in the 28th minute, a beautiful combination from Serie exploits Osimhen located Lookman as the Atalnata strike went over the Bar. Just two minutes to the end of the first half, Osimhen scrapes the crossbar as the first half ended 0-0.

Eagles coach Peseiro made six changes in the second half when he brought in Terem Moffi to replace Osimhen, Bright Osayi-Samuel for Ebuehi, Kelechi Iheanacho replaced Chukwueze, Simon Moses relieved Lookman, Sadiq Umar for Boniface, and Joe Aribo for Iwobi.

Nigeria are in Group A with host nation Cote d’Ivoire, Guinea Bissau and Equatorial Guinea in the group phase of the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) scheduled to hold from January 13 to February 11 2024.

The Super Eagles of Nigeria will take on the Mambas of Mozambique in another friendly match at the Estadio Municipal De Portimao in Portugal, before their 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifiers against Lesotho and Zimbabwe in November.