Super Eagles of Nigeria and the Nzalang Nacional of Equatorial Guinea have settled for a 1-1 draw in their 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) opener.
In the game played at the Alassane Ouattara Stadium in Abidjan on Sunday, Equatorial Guinea took the lead in the 35th minute after Ivan Edu curled a shot into the far right corner of the Super Eagles net.
Nigeria, however, responded swiftly as Napoli hitman Victor Osimhen, with a towering header, connected to Ademola Lookman’s cross to draw level.
Nigeria dominated early possession and should have grabbed the lead 10 minutes into the encounter, which drew a modest crowd to the 60,000-seat Ebimbe Olympic Stadium.
A low cross from the right eluded everyone except Super Eagle Zaidu Sanusi at the far post, who blasted too high and wide.
As the second half progressed, Equatoguinean Jesus Owono was the busier goalkeeper, using his foot multiple times to stop the Super Eagles attack.
Nigeria experienced a setback midway through the half when livewire midfielder Alhassan Yusuf, a late addition to the squad in place of injured Wilfred Ndidi, was stretchered off injured.
Osimhen had a fantastic opportunity to put his team ahead on 76 minutes, firing past the goalkeeper but wide of the goal.
Equatorial Guinea will face Guinea-Bissau in the second round of Group A fixtures on Thursday, before Ivory Coast takes on the Super Eagles in what could be an AFCON highlight.