Osimhen scores as Eagles play draw against Equatorial Guinea

Victor Osimhen’s quick-fire equaliser spared Nigeria a shock defeat against Equatorial Guinea in their opening game of the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations.

Osimhen nodded in straight after Iban Salvador’s opener for the underdogs.

Salvador’s classy first-half finish was his side’s only attempt on target and briefly threatened a significant upset in the second game of the tournament.

Jesus Owono made several second-half saves to deny the Super Eagles, and Osimhen missed after breaking clear.

The stalemate in the Group A match in Abidjan means both sides are two points behind Ivory Coast, who opened the tournament with a 2-0 win over Guinea-Bissau on Saturday.

Equatorial Guinea, who are 46 places below Nigeria in the world rankings, celebrated ecstatically after taking the lead, but conceded straight from the restart when Osimhen converted Ademola Lookman’s cross and spent much of the match under pressure.

Goalkeeper Owono was in inspired form but breathed a sigh of relief when African Footballer of the Year Osimhen misfired after being sent through by Fulham midfielder Alex Iwobi with 14 minutes remaining.

Zaidu Sanusi had lifted an early Super Eagles chance high over the crossbar when debutant Alhassan Yusuf’s cross found the full-back in space inside the penalty area.

And Osimhen, the leading marksman in qualifying for the tournament, also spurned a presentable opportunity with the game goalless, heading Ola Aina’s inviting delivery wide.

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