Nigeria’s Super Eagles squandered a two-goal lead in a spate of two minutes that saw host, Ukraine coming from behind to level scores in their Tuesday night international friendly.
With less than 15 minutes left of play, the Coach Gernot Rohr’s men, in a momentary loss of concentration, allowed the Ukrainians to strike with two quick second half goals that denied them victory inside the Dnipro Arena
Enjoying an impressive first-half display against the Andriy Shevchenko’s men, the Super Eagles deservedly raced into a 2-0 lead through Joe Aribo in the 4th minute and Victor Osimhen’s penalty in 34th minute of play.
Aribo, who was handed his first National team cap by Coach Rohr, took advantage of the Eagles’ bright start and dominance to stun the home fans with an early goal for the visitors.
The goal move was initiated by Samuel Kalu, who tore through the Ukrainians’ defence before locating Alex Iwobi. The Everton man did well in his assist that saw Rangers midfielder, Aribo, giving the few Nigerian heads in the stands something to cheer.
With his effort, Aribo becomes the 60th Nigerian player to score in their maiden outing wearing the national team shirt.
The four-goal thriller had Samuel Chukwueze coming close to extending Nigeria’s lead but an alert goalkeeper Andriy Lunin refused to be beaten as he thwarted the Villarreal striker’s effort.
Having to deal with spurning numerous chances that came their way, the Super Eagles finally increase the tally about four minutes after the half hour mark.
Lille FC of France star, Osimhen, scored his maiden goal for the senior national team from the penalty spot. Again, it was Kalu, a constant threat to the Ukraine defence line, who was tripped by Eduard Sobol in the box and Osimhen confidently stepped forward to convert the resultant kick.
Sadly, the three-time African champions surprisingly switched off and took their legs off the pedal in the second half.
And two quick goals from Oleksandr Zinchenko and Roman Yaremchuk within 60 seconds did the damage and superbly saved the night for the Yellow and Blue jerseys.
First, it was Zinchenko’s brilliant movement and finishing that broke the Super Eagles resistance in the 78th minute.
A minute later, Yaremchuk set the stand alight with deafening cheers as he drew level for the hosts in a controversial manner with TV replays indicating a handball before the goal was scored.
The night almost ended badly for Nigeria but Ukraine’s last minute goal effort was ruled offside to stalemate proceedings at 2-2 for both sides. – With agency reports