Two first half goals from debutant Joe Aribo and Lille striker Victor Osimhen helped the Super Eagles earn a 2-2 draw against Ukraine in an exciting international friendly at the Dnipro Arena on Tuesday.
The Eagles put up a dominant display from the early stages and it took Glasgow Rangers forward Aribo just four minutes on his international debut to register his first Nigeria goal off a fast counter-attack.
Bordeaux winger Samuel Kalu danced his way past four defenders before brilliantly putting through new Everton signing Alex Iwobi, who passed for the perfectly-placed Aribo to slot past AndriyLunin, in goal for the Ukrainians.
Osimhen then added a second from the penalty spot on the half hour mark after the impressive Kalu was brought down inside the box.
The Eagles were the better side in the first 45 minutes pegging back their opponents for most of the half, with Lunin saving a close range effort to deny Villarreal winger SamuelChukwueze in the fifth minute.
Lunin was called into action five minutes later, pulling off an amazing save from Aribo’s flying header off a brilliant cross from Iwobi.
Nigeria goalkeeper, Francis Uzoho, ensured his side went into the break with a two-goal advantage, pulling off double one-hand saves to deny the Ukrainians in the 42nd minute.
The Eagles began the second half with more energy and relied more on long balls to lone striker Osimhen, who caused problems for Andriy Shevchenko’s defenders with his pace and trickery.
On one of such surging runs, the U-17 World Cup winner left RuslanMalinovsky sprawling inside the box, before setting up Kalu, who sent his effort wide into the stands.
Nigeria coach Gernot Rohr then brought on Moses Simon and the returning Anderson Esiti for Kalu and Iwobi respectively.
The substitutions proved costly, as the Eagles caved in, giving the Europeans the chance to capitalise and torment the three-time African champions in the latter period of the game.
Manchester City forward OleksandrZinchenko slotted coolly past Uzoho in the 78th minute before Roman Yaremchuk grabbed the equaliser for Shevchenko’s side just seconds later, with video replays showing the ball had hit his hand on the way to goal.
Rohr handed a debut to Bordeaux England-born forward JoshMaja, who earned his first cap coming on for Osimhen in the last few minutes of the encounter.
Watch the highlight, below:
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