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Nigeria, Tunisia friendly ends in stalemate

…Kelechi Iheanacho gave Nigeria the lead in the 21st minute.

The Super Eagles of Nigeria were forced to a 1-1 draw by their Tunisian counterparts on Tuesday night in an international friendly played at the Jacques Lemans Arena in the Austrian city of St. Veit a der Glan.

Kelechi Iheanacho had given Nigeria the lead in the 21st minute and could have doubled the advantage nine minutes later when captain Ahmed Musa was brought down in the box by the Tunisian goalkeeper, Faruq Mustapha.

The Leicester City forward fluffed the penalty kick awarded and that proved costly as Mohamed Draeger got the equaliser for Tunisia in the dying minutes of the first half.

After the lacklustre performance against Algeria, coach Gernot Rohr opted for some changes in the squad to face Tunisia and it translated into a better performance.

Captain Ahmed Musa, Kelechi Iheanacho, Moses Simon, Kevin Apokuguna and Kenneth Omeruo were all handed starting shirts.

Though it was the North Africans that dominated the early proceedings, the Super Eagles grew into the game and took charge.

Chukwueze with his moves on the right flank and Simon on the left troubled the Tunisia defence but the chances created could not be converted to goals as Nigeria could only boast of the solitary strike from Iheanacho.

The Tunisians also had decent chances of their own but Goalkeeper Maduka Okoye who only is making a third appearance for the national team gave an above average performance.

Though coach Gernot Rohr would have been happier to beat the Carthage Eagles just like he did in the third place match at AfCON 2019, he would take consolation in the improved performance of his boys.

The Franco-German would also be impressed with the positive signs from his new recruits like Kevin Apokuguna, Chidera Ejuke and Cryiel Dessers.

With Tuesday’s draw, the head to head record between Nigeria and Tunisia stands at six wins each and eight draws.

The Super Eagles will hope to return to winning ways when the 2021 AFCON qualifiers resume with the double header against Sierra Leone next month.


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