Nigeria and Italy draw friendly
Posted: 18 November 2013 Time: 23:40
Nigeria and Italy drew 2-2 in an international friendly played at Craven Cottage on Monday night.
Contrary to earlier reports, Cesare Prandelli started the game with a full strength team, which featured the likes of Mario Balotelli, Angelo Ogbonna and Giuseppe Rossi.
The latter gave the Azurri an early lead when he raced into a pass from Balotelli in the 7th minute, before chipping the ball over an advancing Austin Ejide, who manned the post in place of Vincent Enyeama.
Bright Dike however equalized for Nigeria in the 35th minute, after heading home a cross from Shola Ameobi.
Ameobi turned from provider to scorer four minutes later when he smashed in a left-wing cross from Heartland's fullback Benjamin Francis, to give Nigeria a half-time lead.
Emanuele Giaccherini equalized for Italy two minutes into the resumption of the second half, and Prandelli made some vital changes to his squad moments later as he brought on the likes of Andrea Pirlo, Marco Parolo and Diamanto.
The changes proved vital as the Italians dominated proceedings with Pirlo controlling the play and creating chances which Chirechi, Giancherini and Balotelli failed to utilize.
John Ogu however came close to restoring Nigeria's lead in the 74th minute but his rasping shot after a great run by Ahmed Musa was saved by Salvatore Sirigu.
Both sides continued to threaten with Italy getting the better chances which were wasted by Mario Balotelli, as Musa and Emmanuel Emenike also came close to scoring for Nigeria.
With neither side unable to add to their tally after regulation time, referee Martin Atkinson signalled for the end of the game.
ITALY: Sirigu - Maggio, Pasqual, Ogbonna, Ranocchia, Thiago Motta, Montolivo, Candreva, Giaccherini, Rossi, Balotelli
NIGERIA: Ejide - Kwambe, Oboabona, Egwuekwe, Francis, Onazi, Mikel, Oduamadi, Moses, Dike, Ameobi