Super Eagles held by Congo DR

William Troost-Ekong’s opener was cancelled out by a Ben Malango penalty as Nigeria were held to a 1-1 draw by Congo Democratic Republic in a pre-World Cup friendly in Port Harcourt.

It was a much changed Super Eagles as Gernot Rohr handed debuts to Simeon Nwankwo and Junior Lokosa, while Oghenekaro Etebo returned to the side having missed a number of recent games.

The Eagles began on the front foot and Crotone striker Nwankwo hit the post with a ferocious left-footed effort after an impressive turn.

Florent Ibenge;s men bore down the Eagles goal in the eighth minute, but goalkeeper Francis Uzoho reacted quickly to keep out Benik Afobe’s snap shot.

Nigeria then shot into the lead six minutes later as Troost-Ekong drove home after Etebo’s chipped free-kick ricocheted into his path.

Congo’s striker Afobe almost levelled proceedings but saw his beautiful shot on the turn flash wide off the target on the stroke of half-time.

Rohr threw on Alex Iwobi, Mikel Agu and Ola Aina at the restart, and the latter’s powerful throw-in allowed Nwankwo to test Leopards goalkeeper Anthony Mossi with a downward header.

And the lanky marksman showed his presence again ten minutes later by forcing Mossi into a rushed clearance, allowing Etebo to shoot at goal from 40 yards with the keeper in no man’s land.

The Eagles seemed to be heading for a routine win when Afobe’s replacement Malango levelled from the spot after Aina was penalised for bringing down Issama Mpeko.

Iwobi tried to restore Nigeria’s lead with a shot from outside the area, but it sailed agonisingly wide as both sides settled for a share of the spoils.

Next up for the Eagles is the prestige friendly against England’s Three Lions at Wembley on Saturday.

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