Nigeria 1 – 1 Equatorial Guinea: Osimhen off the mark but Nigeria are held by Equatorial Guinea

Victor Osimhen Nigeria

Nigeria started their 2023 Africa Cup of Nations campaign in inauspicious fashion as they drew 1-1 with Equatorial Guinea in their opening Group A match.

The Super Eagles are one of the favorites to win the AFCON title in 2024 and were widely expected to follow hosts Ivory Coast and open their tournament with a comfortable win against a team ranked below them in the FIFA 46 rankings.

Yet their performance in the sweltering heat at the Abidjan Olympic Stadium in Ebimpe was not among the handful of Super Eagles fans who made the trip. A lack of incisive attacking play and some poor mistakes from star striker Victor Osimhene mean they have now won just one of their last six games in all competitions.

At least Osimhen got on the scoresheet to cancel out the opener from Equatorial Guinea, who are competing in their fourth AFCON finals and held 192nd Djibouti to a 1-1 draw in a pre-tournament friendly five days ago. .

Ivan Salvador took the lead in the 36th minute when Osimhen and Zaidu Sanusi missed representative openings on the edge of the box.

Their advantage was short-lived, Osimhen nodding in Ademolo Lookman’s cross to equalize barely two minutes later, but it was too good for Nigeria to be persistently thwarted by Alaves goalkeeper Jesus Owono.

Osimhen spurned the best chance of the second half, racing onto Alex Iwobi’s through ball to curl his finish wide. The Napoli star will need to step up if Nigeria are to mount a serious challenge in this final, not least with the meeting with the hosts looming in just four days.

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