The Super Eagles of Nigeria on Sunday began their campaign at the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) by playing out a 1-1 draw with Equatorial Guinea in their group A opener.
Iban Salvador put Equatorial Guinea 1-0 up in the 36th minute courtesy of an assist from Jose Machin who did very well to displace the Nigerian defenders.
Their lead lasted for only two minutes, though, as Napoli striker, Victor Osimhen, who had earlier been selfish by blazing into the sky instead of finding a teammate, got Nigeria’s equaliser.
The Super Eagles made it 1-1 when Atalanta forward, Ademola Lookman, sent in a lovely cross which Osimhen, who was left alone in the Equatoguinean six-yard box, headed into the back of the net.
Nigeria went very close to making it 2-1 following a wonderful passage of play which saw some breathtaking passes involving Lookman and Osimhen.
Osimhen found FC Nantes winger, Moses Simon, whose shot was, however, parried away by Equatorial Guinea goalkeeper, Jesus Owono, off the base of the goalpost for a corner kick to Nigeria.
The Super Eagles lost a glorious chance in the 52nd minute after FC Porto left-back, Zaidu Sanusi shot straight at Owono after a lovely through pass from Fulham midfielder, Alex Iwobi.
Lookman blazed over from the rebound immediately after while Osimhen also saw his effort saved by Owono in the 54th minute.
The Equatorial Guinea goalkeeper saved another effort from Nottingham Forest right-back, Ola Aina who was found with a fine pass by Lookman.
Southampton midfielder, Joe Aribo and AC Milan winger, Samuel Chukwueze replaced Royal Antwerp star, Alhassan Yusuf and Simon respectively in the 68th minute as Nigeria searched for the winning goal.
It was the turn of the reigning CAF African player of the year, Osimhen to waste another glorious opportunity to put Nigeria 2-1 ahead when Iwobi gave him an excellent through pass.
Osimhen was left alone with Owono but instead of dribbling past Owono or just simply scoring in the 75th minute, the Napoli striker sent the ball totally away from goal.