Osimhen on target but Nigeria held 1-1 by Equatorial Guinea



Victor Osimhen scored a first half equaliser but wasteful Nigeria were held to a 1-1 draw in their Africa Cup of Nations Group A opener with Equatorial Guinea in a steamy Abidjan on Sunday, unable to turn their pressure into three points.

Iban Salvador netted a surprise opener for Equatorial Guinea against the run of play with a well-worked goal, but the lead lasted only two minutes before Napoli forward Osimhen headed Nigeria level.

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The west African side dominated the chances after that but found Equatorial Guinea goalkeeper Jesus Owono in fine form as he made several outstanding saves, to go with some poor finishing.

Nigeria next meet hosts Ivory Coast in a potentially crucial pool clash on Thursday, while Equatorial Guinea face Guinea-Bissau, who lost 2-0 to the Ivorians in Saturday's tournament opening game.

The match was a slow burner, but burst into life with two goals in as many minutes towards the end of the first half.

Victor Osimhen's goal wasn't enough to earn Nigeria three points.
Photo by ISSOUF SANOGO/AFP via Getty Images

Nigeria's Zaidu missed an open goal at the back post when a cross from the right eluded everyone and fell kindly to him, but he skewed his shot high and wide with the goal gaping.

Equatorial Guinea took the lead on 36 minutes with a fine finish from Salvador.

Some hesitant defending saw Nigeria fail to clear the ball and when Salvador was teed up by Jose Machin 18 yards from goal, he side-footed a shot into the bottom corner with a clinical finish.

But the lead lasted only two minutes as Nigeria hit back almost immediately.

Winger Ademola Lookman hung up a cross from the left to the back post and Osimhen had the simplest of headed finishes to score his 21st international goal.

Moses Simon then forced a good low save from Equatorial Guinea goalkeeper Jesus Owono when his shot looked destined for the bottom corner as the teams went to the break at 1-1.

Zaidu had another superb chance for Nigeria early in the second half, but fired straight at the goalkeeper, before Osimhen was denied by the head of the Alaves gloveman.

It will be viewed as two points dropped for the Super Eagles, who have faced recent stinging criticism after 1-1 draws with tiny Lesotho and Zimbabwe in the World Cup qualifiers in November.

Keywords: AFCON Ivory Coast Nigeria 

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