Super Eagles of Nigeria began their outing at the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations on a disappointing note after playing a 1-1 draw with Equatorial Guinea.

Much was expected from a star-studded Eagles side on Sunday at the Stade Olympique Alassane Ouattara, though, they failed to live up to billings as one of contenders.

Jose Peseiro’s team started on the front foot, boosting with confidence, as the Nigerians came out firing, with few chances created.

Defender Sanusi Zaidu couldn’t break through from a close range after an aerial cross fell for him. His weak-low shot went off the bar.

The Equatoguineans, too, had a couple of fair chances, but Super Eagles’ central back defenders William Troost-Ekong and Semiu Ajayi did well to put things in order at the defense.

However, on the run of play in 36th minute, Equatorial Guinea broke through with the opening goal when Iban Edu scored from a close range, leaving keeper Stanley Nwabili with no choice to make than look on as the ball rolled into the net.

Their lead was short lived as Nigeria fought back in a quick session to get an equalizer with the boots of reigning African Footballer of the Year, Victor Osimhen.

The Napoli hitman in the 38th minutes nodded home Ademola Lookman’s cross from the left corner to level the scoreline for the Eagles.

Although, there was no further goal at the first half as the teams could not find a way in either side of the 18-yard box and ended 1-1.

The game got underway in the second period with lot of expectations for the three-time winners to see off an Equatoguinean side that finished at the quarterfinals at the 2021 edition.

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The Super Eagles did had scoring moments after the restart of the encounter with Osimhen coming close, but he bent the ball over and went out of sight from the goal post.

Equatorial Guinea goalie Jesus Owono was far the busiest of the two shot-stoppers as he did everything within his power to prevent Nigeria from getting further goals.

There were opportunities from Lookman, Ola Aina and Alex Iwobi, though, and Owono was just super outstanding for his team as he was on his toes to helping his side an a point as it finished 1-1.

Up next for Eagles is a date with hosts Côte d’Ivoire on January 18th, while Equatorial Guinea will file out against Guinea-Bissau.

Match Statistics:

Shots: Nig 17, E.Guinnea 7

Shots on Target : Nig 6; E. Guinnea 1

Possession: Nig 51%; E. Guinnea 49%

Passes : Nig 332; E. Guinnea 334

Pass Accuracy: Nig 77%; E. Guinnea 76%