Nigeria and Equatorial Guinea played out a pulsating 1-1 draw in their opening group A game of the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) at the Alassana Ouattara Stadium in Abidjan on Sunday, January 14, 2024.
Nigeria took control early in the match, creating several goal-scoring opportunities within the first ten minutes.
Alex Iwobi and Victor Osimhen tested Equatorial Guinea’s goalkeeper, Jesus Owono, but the Super Eagles were unable to convert their chances. Zaidu Sanusi, too, missed a golden opportunity, failing to capitalize on a cross from Alhassan Yusuf.
Equatorial Guinea, however, found their rhythm as the game progressed. In the 36th minute, Ivan Salvador seized on a defensive lapse to strike a well-placed shot past a stranded Nigerian goalkeeper, Stanley Nwabili, giving Equatorial Guinea a 1-0 lead.
Undeterred, Nigeria swiftly responded just before half-time. Ademola Lookman delivered a precise cross, and CAF Player of the Year, Victor Osimhen, headed home the equalizer, leveling the score at 1-1.
The second half saw the Super Eagles return with renewed determination, creating numerous scoring opportunities. Zaidu Sanusi, Ademola Lookman, and Victor Osimhen all had chances, but Equatorial Guinea’s goalkeeper, Owono, displayed exceptional skill in denying Nigeria’s attempts.
As the clock ticked towards the ninety minute mark, Victor Osimhen missed a glaring opportunity, firing wide when one-on-one with the goalkeeper.
The match finished 1-1 with both teams earning a hard-fought point, contributing to Equatorial Guinea’s impressive 12-game unbeaten streak.
Equatorial Guinea’s goalkeeper, Jesus Owono, was rightfully named the man of the match for his outstanding saves that played a crucial role in securing a point for his team.
With this draw, Cote d’Ivoire leads Group A following their 2-0 victory over Guinea Bissau.
Nigeria is set to continue their AFCON campaign against Cote d’Ivoire on Thursday, January 18, 2024. On the same day, Equatorial Guinea will face Guinea Bissau in what promises to be another exciting round of fixtures in Group A.