In its inaugural match of the 2023 African Cup of Nations in Ivory Coast, the Super Eagles of Nigeria found themselves settling for a 1-1 draw against a spirited Equatorial Guinea on a Sunday filled with high expectations.
Traditionally seen as contenders for continental glory, the Super Eagles faced a stumbling start against the quarter-finalists from two years ago. Victor Osimhen, displaying his dynamism from the onset, launched a spirited yet wayward strike in the early minutes.
Equatorial Guinea took the lead in the 37th minute as Iban Salvador’s well-placed shot left the Super Eagles’ goalkeeper, Stanley Nwabali, frozen in place.
The Super Eagles quickly retaliated after the kickoff, with Osimhen securing an equalising header just before halftime.
Despite numerous opportunities, Nigeria couldn’t secure the elusive winning goal. Osimhen, who marked his AFCON debut with a goal, missed a crucial chance in the 75th minute.
Situated in Group A, Nigeria is poised for upcoming challenges against host nation, Ivory Coast and Guinea-Bissau in the ongoing tournament.