Game Fifteen Yet No Win for Super Eagles


Saudi Arabia scored a late free kick to equalize and earn a draw in the international friendly match against Nigeria at the Estádio Municipal de Portimão, on Friday.

After a goalless first hall, the game came to life, but rather fortuitously for Saudi Arabia as they went ahead from a goalkeeping howler.


Francis Uzoho turned Salman Al-Faraj’s (60′) lofted cross from a free kick, into his own net to give the former Asian Champions the lead.

There had been very few clear cut chances prior, but Nigeria had looked the likelier side to score.

Now with their backs against the wall, the Super Eagles wrestled their way back into the game, snatching an equalizer thirteen minutes after going behind.

Victor Boniface had been in brilliant form at his club, Bayer Leverkusen, he brought some of that to Portimão.

His effort came off Abdulelah Al-Amri (73′) for an own-goal, denying the 22 year-old his debut goal for Nigeria.

It wasn’t long and turning the screw, another in-form striker, Kelechi Iheanacho came off the bench to bury a brilliant long range effort (81′) to turn the game completely in its head for Nigeria.

Peseiro relied on aggressive pressing, zonal and man marking in the defensive phase and counter attacking wing play in the offensive transition.

The Portuguese had not won a friendly game yet, since his appointment as Nigeria’s head coach in 2022, but it seemed like he would get it on the night and against his former team.

But, it wasn’t to be and the Saudi team produced a brilliant moment of their own, scoring from Mohamed Kanno’s (90+10′) free-kick, which also deflected off Calvin Bassey.

Substitute Joe Aribo tripped his man on the edge of the box and the resultant free kick deflected off Calvin Bassey for the ball to beat Uzoho for the second time in the game.

It was the second meeting between the teams and like the first – Peseiro was coach of the Green Falcons – it ended in a draw.

The Super Eagles will return again in three days to the same venue where they’ll play fellow 2023 Africa Cup of Nations bound Mozambique in another international friendly match.


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