Nigeria held Catalonia to a 1-1 draw at the Estadi Cornellà El Prat on Thursday evening as they continued preparations for the Africa Cup of Nations that starts later this month.
Sergio Gonzalez converted a penalty early in the seventh minute to give the hosts the lead before US-based striker Bright Dike got the Super Eagles an equaliser in the 55th minute. Stephen Keshi started with a team of home-based players mixed with a handful of Europe-based lads while John Cruyff’s squad consisted of players from the Barcelona and Espanyol sides in La Liga.
Barcelona’s Xavi, Carles Puyol, and Milan’s Bojan Krkic were some of the big name stars paraded by the Catalonians while Nigeria had Ike Uche, Emmanuel Emenike, and Ahmed Musa come in as substitutes.
The entire Nigerian defence was consisted of Nigeria Premier League players: Chigozie Agbim in goal, and defenders Solomon Kwambe, Azubuike Egwueke, Godfrey Oboabuna and Benjamin Francis who all proved themselves highly capable.
Fengor Ogude and Ogenyi Onazi played in midfield alongside Sunday Mba and Ejike Uzoenyi while Dike and Brown Ideye started up front.
The Catalonians dominated early proceedings and were rewarded with a penalty as Gonzalez converted in the seventh minute. Nigeria tried to regain confidence in the face of strong odds as the fans cheered every move of the home side.
A handful of Nigerian fans in the stadium were delirious with joy in the second half when Dike profited from a fast counter-attack to turn his defender and score the equaliser for the Nigerians. The burly MLS-based striker then did a somersault to celebrate his maiden goal for the Eagles.
He was immediately substituted with Ike Uche as Keshi rang changes across the frontline where he also brought in Musa. The change in pace troubled the hosts but Uche saw a few chances miss the mark.
The Catalonians were also unable to convert their chances late on with Cristian Tello shooting wide with only Agbim to beat as the game ended in a stalemate. The SUper Eagles were then handed over the match trophy.
Nigeria will next play against Cape Verde as they conclude plans for the Afcon in South Africa.