The game, which was watched by the Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Sports, Godfrey Gaya; Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) Technical Committee member, Austen Elumelu; and Siji Lagunju of the NFF among others was highly explosive and technical with fans on the edge of their seats for the better part of the game.
The national team’s head coach, Stephen Keshi, started with his probables like skipper Chigozie Agbim in goal, Godfrey Oboabona and Azubuike Egwueke in the heart of the defence, Benjamin Francis and Solomon Kwambe as wing backs on the left and right respectively. Ayo Saka, Gomo Onduku and Femi Oladapo were the midfield choices while Sunday Mba played behind strikers- Gambo Mohammed and Ezekiel Mba who started ahead of Etebor Ejiroghene.
The Eagles dominated play in the first half with Mba, Gambo and Ezekiel all coming close in the 10th, 20th and 22nd minutes. But it was Gomo’s flash from 32 yards that was palmed into a corner kick that highlighted the half which ended goaless.
Keshi made a clean sweep of the players and brought in Dan Akpeyi, Rabiu Ali, Etebor, Joseph Osiagbanmu and U20 star Alhaji Gero the main actors. Midway into the half, Osiagbanmu’s clean dribble resulted in him being hacked down in the 18 yard box and referee Aniete Ukoh wasted no time in pointing to the spot. Rabiu Ali promptly dispatched the goal, which remained the only one of the game.
Keshi praised the resilience of the opposition and told the players to expect a better opposition in Abidjan in eight days time.
Also addressing the team after the game, Gaya praised the consistency of the squad and assured that government at the highest level was as supportive of the home squad as they were of the foreign legion.
“In fact the Director General of the National Sports Commission, Hon Gbenga Elegbeleye, was supposed to have been here to watch the game but thought it was later in the day,” Gaya explained.