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Super Eagles, Green Falcons play out thrilling draw in Portimao

Uzoho calamitous, Onyemaechi sublime for Super Eagles

Nigeria’s Super Eagles held Saudi Arabia’s Green Falcons to a 2-2 draw in their international friendly at the Estadio Municipal de Portimao.

Jose Peseiro’s side were up against the stern test of the only side to defeat world champions Argentina in their last 50 matches. The Portuguese manager was in charge of the Green Falcons last time they faced Nigeria in 2010.

The Super Eagles began the brighter of both sides, with Bayer Leverkusen striker Victor Boniface proving to be a thorn in the flesh of the Falcons in the opening stages.

Napoli star Victor Osimhen missed the game’s first real chance for Nigeria, with Samuel Chukwueze and Ademola Lookman also guilty of missing chances in the first half of the clash.

The first half ended without either side scoring, with Saudi Arabia coming closest to opening the scoring in Portimao.

The Green Falcons began the second half in impressive fashion, and were rewarded with an opener within 15 minutes of the restart. Captain Salman Al-Faraj curled a free-kick towards goal, and goalkeeper Francis Uzoho palmed the shot into the back of his own goal to concede a disappointing opener.

Saudi Arabia were denied a penalty by a VAR check minutes later when Semi Ajayi handled the ball, but the referee deemed his arm to have been in a natural position.

Peseiro made a number of changes to the side, introducing Moses Simon for the ineffectual Lookman and Kelechi Iheanacho for Chukwueze, while Terem Moffi replaced the injured  Osimhen.

The changes bore fruit soon after as Nantes forward Simon showed his enterprising nature to deliver a cross to the near post, with pressure from Boniface forcing Abdulelah Alamri into an own goal in the 73rd minute.

Another substitute paid dividends for the Super Eagles as Leicester City man Iheanacho curled home a fine effort from the edge of the box after the ball fell into his path from a botched clearance, giving his side the lead in the 80th minute.

Sadiq Umar was guilty of missing a gilt-edged chance created by Iheanacho as the Super Eagles sought an insurance goal.

Saudi Arabia scored a 99th minute equaliser to escape with a draw in Portugal. Al-Hilal midfielder Mohammed Kanno fired home a free-kick via a deflection to earn his side a draw.

Nigeria’s Super Eagles will face fellow African side Mozambique in their next friendly on Monday.

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