Ukraine fight back to hold Nigeria

Ukraine scored twice in one minute to force Nigeria to a 2-2 draw in an international friendly at the Dnipro Arena Tuesday.

In their first match since clinching bronze at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt, the Super Eagles surged into a 2-0 lead in the first half to leave the packed stadium stunned.

Debutant Joe Aribo continued his brilliant form this season by sweeping home after four minutes following good work down the left from Samuel Kalu and Alex Iwobi.

Samuel Chukwueze should have made it 2-0 for the Eagles when he was played through by Victor Osimhen, but his near-post shot was denied by the flailing arm of goalkeeper Andriy Lunin.

Nigeria however doubled their advantage in the 34th minute, Osimhen finding the bottom corner from the spot after Kalu was upended.

Andriy Shevchenko made a raft of changes at the interval, giving the hosts more urgency in attack even as the Nigerian defence held firm.

Iwobi missed a chance to increase the Eagles’ lead when he shot narrowly wide from the edge of the box after good hold-up play from Osimhen.

And Ukraine got the goal they deserved for their improved second-half performance when Manchester City’s Oleksandr Zinchenko beat Francis Uzoho from inside the box.

And in extraordinary circumstances, Ukraine scored seconds later when Uzoho’s cleared effort came off Roman Yaremchuk and into the net.

The referee initially disallowed the goal for handball, but did a u-turn after consulting his assistant, sending the partisan crowd wild.

Substitute Yevheniy Konoplyanka forced a save from Uzoho from a free-kick, while another Nigerian debutant, Emmanuel Dennis, saw his curling effort gathered as both sides settled for the draw.


Leave a Reply