The Super Eagles were left to rue their profligacy in front of goal during a frustrating start to the Africa Cup of Nations on Sunday.
Nigeria were held to a disappointing 1-1 draw to kick off their Group A campaign in Abidjan, failing to match the exploits of Ivory Coast – who beat Guinea-Bissau 2-0 to open the tournament on Saturday night – ahead of their crunch clash with the hosts on Thursday evening.
Despite a dominant start at the Olympic Stadium of Ebimpe, injury-hit Nigeria fell behind in shock fashion against the run of play when Iban Salvador Edu fired neatly into the bottom corner from the edge of the box.
Giant-killers Equatorial Guinea weren’t in front for long, however, with Nigeria’s attacking talisman Victor Osimhen steering in a header from point-blank range following a deflected Ademola Lookman cross.
Moses Simon hit the woodwork for Nigeria before the interval and the Super Eagles piled on more pressure in the second period, but could not find that elusive winning goal.
The injury-hit Super Eagles needed a close-range header from star striker Victor Osimhen before half-time to secure a share of the spoils in the second game in Group A, the Napoli marksman answering back within two minutes of a shock Equatorial Guinea opener netted coolly into the bottom corner by Polish-based forward Iban Salvador Edu.
Instead it rather compounded another disappointing AFCON afternoon for Nigeria, who won the last of their three continental titles a decade ago and were dumped out of the tournament in the round of 16 in Cameroon in 2021.
They will have to improve sharply for Thursday night’s high-profile showdown with Ivory Coast, with the hosts having opened proceedings with a comfortable win over Guinea-Bissau on Saturday.