Eagles Held by Falcons in Portugal

The Super Eagles were held to a 2-2 draw by Saudi Arabia’s Green Falcons in an international friendly match played at the Estádio Municipal de Portimão in Portugal on Friday, PUNCH Sports Extra reported.

Nigeria came from a 1-0 down to lead Saudis 2-1 in the entertaining game, but the Jose Pesiero’s men let their opponents off the hook in the stoppage time to leave the game all squared.

The Eagles started the game on the front foot and their high pressing got them a chance in just the 2nd minute of the game as Napoli superstar Victor Osimhen flicked the ball on towards Samuel Chukwueze who failed to control the ball and squandered the opportunity.

The three-time African champions continued to pile on the pressure as Iwobi and Chukwueze had efforts deflected in the 5th and 8th minute respectively.

Osimhen then sent a couple of chances over the bar in the 16th and 43rd minute either side of a Lookman shot that he sent into the goalkeeper’s gloves as the Eagles retired for the half-time break after a wasteful first period.

Osimhen was replaced by OGC Nice striker Terem Moffi in the 59th minute.

Shortly after, Salam Al-Faraji put Saudi Arabia in front on the dot of 60th minute with a free kick as an attempted clearance from Francis Uzoho sent the ball into the net.

Jose Peseiro then made a slew of substitutions sending in Bright Osayi-Samuel, Kelechi Iheanacho and Moses Simon to replace Tyronne Ebuehi, Samuel Chukwueze and Ademola Lookman.

This appeared to improve Nigeria’s lot at the fore, as Iheanacho and Simon rattled the Falcons’ defence at will, and Simon was the architect of Nigeria’s equalizer, when squared a ball in that resulted in an own goal by Saudi defender Al Amri in 83rd minute.

Eight minutes later, Iheanacho curled the ball powerfully into the net from outside the box beyond the flailing hands of the Falcons’ goalie, after Moffi and Simon combined to put the opposing defence in knots.

However, the Super Eagles conceded a freekick on the edge of the box deep into added time. The strike from Mohamed Kanno deflected off Calvin Bassey to give Roberto Mancini’s side the equaliser.

It was a repeat of their only previous encounter in 2010 when Peseiro was the Saudi coach and the friendly ended 0-0 in Austria.

aThe Super Eagles will be in action on Monday as they face Mozambique in another friendly at the same venue.

The 2013 AFCON champions will start their World Cup qualifiers in November with games against Lesotho and Zimbabwe before heading to Ivory Coast for the AFCON in