Ekong, Lokosa, Nwankwo impress as DR Congo hold Eagles
The Super Eagles on Monday played a 1-1 draw with DR Congo in their friendly match ahead of the Russia 2018 World Cup at the Adokiye Amiesimaka Stadium, Port Harcourt.
William Troost-Ekong scored for Nigeria while Bampunga Paau converted a penalty to help DR Congo end the game in a draw.
The Eagles leave for London on Tuesday for their friendly match against England at Wembley on June 2.
Francis Uzoho started in goal for Nigeria, with Tyronne Ebuehi, Troost-Ekong, Leon Balogun and Elderson Echiejile were in the defence. Ogenyi Onazi, Oghenekaro Etebo and Joel Obi were in the midfield. Kano Pillars’ Junior Lokosa and Crotone striker Simeon Nwankwo were handed their national team debuts in the attack alongside Kelechi Iheanacho.
The hosts started with intent and urgency and could have gone ahead in the third minute when Nwankwo struck the bar with his effort after he was played through by Lokosa.
The three-time African champions grew into the game and made it difficult for DR Congo to settle into the game. The Eagles had several chances frittered away in the early part of the game.
However, the Congolese, led by Bournemouth striker Benik Afobe, settled into the game and got their first chance in the seventh minute. Afobe was left unmarked in the penalty area but Uzoho saved the goal-bound effort with his legs before Balogun cleared the loose ball.
Nigeria took the lead in the 13th minute when an indirect free-kick by Onazi found Iheanacho in the box. The Leicester forward went past the Congolese keeper before sliding the ball to Troost-Ekong who found the back of the net.
Thereafter, DR Congo pummelled the Nigerian defence with waves after waves of attack which caused a lot of problems for the hosts.
In the second half, Rohr brought on Alex Iwobi, Mikel Agu and Ola Aina for Iheanacho, Obi and Echiejile. The change paid off as Nigeria dominated possession but failed to score goals.
DR Congo got the equaliser in the 78th minute after Aina committed a foul in the penalty area. Paau sent Uzoho the wrong way to secure a draw for the visitors.
Nigeria searched for the winner as Rohr brought on Ahmed Musa for Lokosa and Shehu Abdullahi for Ebuehi, but the Congolese defended well to secure a draw.