The Leopards of DR Congo came from behind to force the Super Eagles of Nigeria to a 1-1 draw at the Adokiye Amiesimaka Stadium, the Super Eagles went into the lead through William Troost-Ekong in the 14th minute of the encounter after Junior Lokosa played an Ogenyi Onazi’s free-kick towards the path of Ekong who side-footed from close range to give Nigeria the lead.
Before the goal, Simeon Nwankwo making his debut for Nigeria had nearly given the Super Eagles the lead but his fierce shot hit the crossbar, and in the 7th minute Francis Uzoho in goal for Nigeria was called into action as he stuck out his legs to deny Benik Afobe from close range. The first half was a pretty dull affair as the Congolese dictated the play and enjoyed more possession of the ball.
In the second half, Gernot Rohr tried to inject some life into the Super Eagles’ play by taking off the anonymous Kelechi Iheanacho for Arsenal’s Alex Iwobi in the 46th minute. However, the changes by the Nigerian coach yielded very little dividends as the Leopards continued to control the game.
Debutant Simeon Nwankwo was starved of service but he was a handful to the Congolese defence on the few occasions that he had the opportunity to threaten the opponent’s back line. The striker nearly scored when a brilliant back header from Ola Aina’s long thrust forced the Leopard’s goalkeeper Anthony Mossi to a one-handed save at his near post.
The Florent Ibenge’s side should have gotten a penalty in the 64th minute when Francis Uzoho fouled Mpeko at the edge of the box but surprisingly the referee booked the Congolese player for delving, that did not deter DR Congo as they pressed forward for an equaliser.
In the 79th minute, Ola Aina who replaced Ederson Echiejile was adjudged to have fouled a DR Congo player inside the box and the Ghanian referee wasted no time in pointing to the spot, but replay showed that the foul was clearly outside the box, hence it should have been a free kick and not a penalty.
The penalty was taken by Cedric Ngulumbi and he sent Francis Uzoho the wrong way to equalise for DR Congo, the goal seems to spark the Nigerian team into action as they stepped up their play in search of a winner, Ahmed Musa who replaced Junior Lokosa was in the thick of the action with his trademark runs into the tired Congolese defence.
The match ended 1-1 as neither team could get the winning goal, and up next for the Super Eagles is another international friendly game against the Three Lions of England in Wembley on June 2 before taking on the Czech Republic on June 6 in Austria.