International Friendly: Scotland 2-2 Nigeria at Craven Cottage
Posted: 28 May 2014 Time: 23:08
An experimental Nigeria side drew 2-2 with Scotland in an international friendly played at Fulham’s Craven Cottage in London on Wednesday night.
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Nigeria’s coach Stephen Keshi opted to field a largely weakened team against the Tartan Army, as Shola Ameobi lead the attack for the Eagles alongside Michael Uchebo with support on the flanks from Michael Babatunde and Ejike Uzoenyi. Returning Joel Obi held forth in midfield alongside Gabriel Reuben.
In defence, team captain Joseph Yobo returned to partner Azubuike Egwuekwe in the line-up after more than a year out, as Kunle Odunlami and Echiejile manned the full-back positions. While second choice goalkeeper Austin Ejide was preferred to man the posts.
Nigeria started the game in lively fashion as dominated the opening proceedings, winning two cornerkicks which they failed to utilise inside the first four minutes as Scotland struggled to get a foot on the ball.
The Super Eagles were nearly punished for their lack of concentration in the sixth minute as James Morrison sent a pas to Ikechi Anya who controlled the ball with his chest before unleashing a shot which fortunately for Nigeria came off the post.
Michael Uchebo fluffed a chance to put the Super Eagles ahead two minutes later as he shot staright at Alan McGregor after an error from Scott Brown allowed him to stride towards the Scottish goal.
Nigeria were made to pay for the miss shortly after as Charlie Mulgrew gave the Scots a 10th minute lead, after he flicked in a 20-yard shot from Morrison over Austin Ejide, after good work by Anya.
The goal appeared to buoy the Scots as they brimmed with confidence, strung neat array of passes and ran rings around Nigeria in midfield which they dominated, with the intent of capitalising on a seemingly shaky Nigeria defence.
Ameobi wasted a chance from a free-kick in the 25th minute, as he sent his shot wide after Elderson Echiejile was brought down at the edge of Scotland's box.
Scotland had a goal rightly disallowed in the 33rd minute after Grant Hanley fouled Ejide to head home a corner. But luckily for Nigeria, Referee Lee Prober spoted the infringement.
Ameobi nearly put Nigeria ahead three minutes later after connecting with a stretched pass from Ejike Uzoenyi, but the former Newcastle man sent his effort straight at the goalkeeper.
Nigeria were living dangerously as a cross from Steven Naismith beat Ejide, but the defence did well to clear the ball.
Uchebo made up for his earlier miss by grabbing an equalizer for Nigeria in the 41st minute, after finding space in front of the box to unleash a nice volley into the to right corner.
Ameobi was offered a chance to extend Nigeria's lead shortly after but the lanky striker sent his shot off target, to ensure both teams remained on level terms at the interval.
Ameobi nearly put Nigeria ahead upon resumption of the second half after his low shot forced a smart save from McGregor. At the other end, Yobo did well to clear a fierce shot from Anya.
Odunlami was unfortunate to score an own-goal to restore Scotland's lead in the 52nd minute, after he deflect Alan Hutton's low cross while trying to prevent Morrison from getting a touch.
Subesequent changes from coach Stephen Keshi who brought in the likes of Nosa Igiebor, Osaze Odemwingie and Nwofor yielded results, as the latter scored a dying-minute goal to ensure Nigeria commenced preparations for the World Cup with their heads held high.
Nwofor placed himself intelligently to find space to sneak a low shot past McGregor, having come close with good headed attempts on two previous occasions.
Nigeria starting XI: Ejide; Elderson, Odunlami, Yobo, Egwuekwe; Reuben, Joel, Ejike; Babatunde, Uchebo, Ameobi
Scotland starting XI: McGregor, Hutton, Robertson, Brown, Hanley, Greer, Morrison, Mulgrew, Naismith, Maloney, Anya