International friendly: Nigeria held at home by DR Congo
World Cup-bound Nigeria showed early promise but were held to a 1-1 friendly draw by DR Congo at the Adokiye Amiesimaka Stadium in Port Harcourt Monday.
Nigeria, drawn in a Group C alongside Argentina, Croatia and Iceland, took only 14 minutes to get off the mark but rued missing early chances for the opener and had ‘keeper Francis Uzoho to thank for limiting the damage in the second half.
William Troost-Ekong was the unlikely scorer for the Super Eagles, the Dutch-born Bursaspor defender slotting home a loose ball after Kelechi Iheanacho tried to latch on to a clever free kick by skipper Ogenyi Onazi.
DR Congo enjoyed more possession over the 90 minutes but it took the visitors until 12 minutes from the end to draw level, Issam Mpeko slotting home a penalty after substitute defender Ola Aina’s foul in the box.
Nigeria started brightly, Simeon Nwankwo’s left-footed shot from close in crashing against the crossbar with the DR Congo goalkeeper stranded.
Leicester City striker Kelechi Iheanacho struggled on a rather heavy-looking pitch and fluffed a clear-cut chance after he was put through on goal from midfield.
Before then, Bournemouth striker Benik Afobe tested the agility of Uzoho after he broke through to unleash a goal-bound shot that was somehow kept out by the young Deportivo La Coruna shot-stopper.
After the break, both teams created chances although Uzoho had to produce at least two big saves before he was sent the wrong way from the penalty spot by Mpeko’s equaliser.
Nigeria fly out to England on Tuesday for another pre-World Cup friendly, on June 2, as they step up preparations for Russia 2018.
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