AFCON: Super Eagle Force to Ends Opening Match With Equatorial Guinea in 1-1 Draw

  • By Demola Atobaba

Equatorial Guinea extended their unbeaten record in all competitions to seven matches following a creditable 1-1 draw with traditional heavyweights Nigeria at the Olympic Stadium of Ebimpé in Abidjan.

Having previously not faced each other since the Super Eagles emerged victorious in January 2018, Nigeria spurned a glorious chance to break the deadlock in the 11th minute.

However, when presented with the simple task of finding the back of an empty net, Zaidu Sanusi inexplicably managed to misfire wide of the mark. Down the opposite end of the field, Equatorial Guinea had to be patient in their efforts to call Stanley Nwabili into action, with José Machín flashing a warning shot wayward of the Nigerian goalkeeper’s goal.


Nonetheless, there was nothing that Nwabili could do to prevent Equatorial Guinea from taking the lead against the run of play in the 36th minute, as Iván Salvador exquisitely guided the ball into the bottom corner.

Remarkably though, it took Nigeria no time at all to manufacture a well-crafted equaliser, as immediately from the restart, 2023 African Footballer of the Year Victor Osimhen rose at the back post to powerfully head home Ademola Lookman’s deliciously floated delivery.

Seeking to qualify for a 15th consecutive knockout stage appearance when present in the AFCON, Nigeria flew out of the traps for the start of the second half. Only the quick-thinking of Jesús Owono denied respective one-on-one efforts from Sanusi and then Osimhen from finding the back of the net.

And the Equatorial Guinea goalkeeper would again come to the rescue of his nation with the game on the verge of the final 20 minutes, as he kept out Ola Aina’s single-handed strike with a smart save.

With time running out for Nigeria to avoid a somewhat humbling result, all eyes were on Osimhen to deliver the goods. However, the Napoli striker’s finishing would let him down at the crucial moment, as he frustratingly miscued his nation’s final goalscoring opportunity the wrong side of the post.

A share of the spoils at the Olympic Stadium of Ebimpé hands Equatorial Guinea their first-ever point against Nigeria in an international tournament. Meanwhile, the Super Eagles will surely want to bounce back against hosts Ivory Coast on Thursday – with the Elephants already sitting atop of Group A after beating Guinea Bissau on Saturday.

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