Super Eagles squander 2-0 lead in draw with Ukraine
The match was Nigeria’s first game since the African Cup of Nations third-place defeat of Tunisia in Egypt, but the Gernot Rohr boys started like a house on fire.
Against a Ukrainian side that had not lost any game in the current 2020 European Championship qualifiers, Nigeria playing without some of the big names showed a glimpse of an emerging force with the new boys thrilling the audience to a well-coordinated game.
New boy, Joe Aribo opened scores for Nigeria off combined moves by Samuel Kalu and Alex Iwobi presented him with an opportunity to make hay. Three minutes after the hour-mark, the Super Eagles doubled their lead with Osimhen scoring his maiden goal for the senior national team.
Kalu was tripped by Eduard Sobol in the penalty area and Victor Osimhen stepped forward to convert the resulting kick.
Shortly after conceding a second goal, Ukraine was dealt an injury blow as Shakhtar Donetsk forward Junior Moraes was replaced by Yaremchuk.
Aside from the constant attacking threats from Nigeria, Francis Uzoho turned up to the party in Dnipro as well to deny Andriy Shevchenko’s team a goal in the first half.
In the last 20 minutes of the encounter, Rohr threw PAOK midfielder, Anderson Esiti, and Moses Simon into the fray for Iwobi and Kalu respectively.
Ukraine finally broke the Super Eagles resistance in the 78th minute, thanks to Zinchenko’s brilliant movement and finish.
A minute later, Yaremchuk found the back of the net to draw the hosts level as both teams settled for the spoils in Dnipro.
Meanwhile, William Troost-Ekong picked up an injury in the closing stage of the encounter and had to be replaced by Leganes’ Chidozie Awaziem.
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