Former African champions, the Super Eagles lost two-goal lead against Ukraine in an international friendly yesterday at the FC Dnipro Arena, Dnipro.
The national team manager, Gernot Rohr named a relatively young team against Ukraine, as Joseph Aribo joined Victor Osimhen for the striking role. Francis Uzoho got cover from stand-in captain, William Troost-Ekong, Olaoluwa Aina, Semilogo Ajayi and Jamilu Collins, while the midfield was marshaled by Oghenekaro Etebo, Samuel Kalu and Alex Iwobi and Samuel Chukwueze. In third minute of the tie, Joe Aribo tapped in Iwobi’s cross opened his goal account in the national team.
Moments later, the Rangers of Scotland midfielder almost doubled the lead with a flying header, but Ukraine goalkeeper, Andriy Lunin parried the ball to safety. The Ukrainian goalie, who was kept busy for the entire half also denied Chukwueze from extending the lead. The pressure, however, paid off in the 32nd minute, when Samuel Kalu was infringed on in the vital area, as Italian referee, Paolo Valerie pointed to the spot. Osimhen stepped up and send the Ukraine goalie the wrong way.
In quick successions, the hosts made attempts to reduce the deficit, but Uzoho posted quality saves to ensure lead two nil at half time. But momentary loss of concentration cost Nigeria two-lead, as Manchester City star, Oleksandr Zinchenko gave the hosts respite, before Roman Yaremchuk grabbed the equalizer. Though the player was believed to have handed while attempting to beat Uzoho.