21 January 2013

Nigeria: Eagles Fumble in 1-1 Draw

Photo: Sydney Mahlangu/BackpagePix
Ikechukwu Uche of Nigeria reacts after missing a chance during the match against Burkina Faso.

Nigeria Monday night, marked their return to Africa Cup of Nations with a fumbling 1-1 draw with Burkina Faso in a Group C match at the Mbombela Stadium

In a largely uneventful game watched by vuvuzela-sounding fans, Emmanuel Emenike edged the Nigerians in front in the 23rd minute but sloppy defending by Godfrey Oboabona and Joseph Yobo gifted the Burnikabes a precious and well deserved draw, after Alain Traore equalised in the last minute of injury time.

For most period of the game, the Eagles looked out of sorts as they failed to stamp authority in a match that a first half goal ought to have given them the confidence to play better than they did. Save for Mikel, the others were making textbook errors. Mikel was voted man of the match. The goal by Emenike was the only silver lining that the Nigerian could hold on to.

It was a real poacher's goal from the Spartak Moscow forward, who dived to poke the ball home from close range ahead of the onrushing Burkina Faso goalkeeper Abdoulaye Soulama, after a deft knockdown from strike partner Brown Ideye.

But after the goal, the Eagles threw caution into the wind as they were booked for reckless fouls. The likes of Fegor Ogude, Efe Ambrose, Nosa Igiebor, Mikel all got booked by the Algerian referee. Efe pulled a defender's shirt and this earned him the red card.

The one man advantage paid for the Burkinabes, who mounted pressure on the Eagles and deservedly got their equaliser in the 94th minute.

Jonathan Pitroipa got clear in the penalty area but the chance looked to have been wasted as he put in a poor cut back while falling over. But the centre back pair of Yobo and Oboabona, then got in each others way, allowing substitute Alain Traore to expertly place his shot past Vincent Enyeama.

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