Iwobi spares Eagles blushes against second-string Algeria

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The Super Eagles on Friday held an Algerian local side made up of domestic league players to a 2-2 draw in a test game played behind closed doors in Constantine, Saturday PUNCH reports.

Strikes from substitutes Alex Iwobi and Cyriel Dessers ensured the Eagles avoided a third defeat under Eagles coach Jose Peseiro.

Peseiro handed Club Brugge midfielder, Rapheal Nwadike and Ebube Duru their first start in the encounter while he also recalled the trio Maduka Okoye, Chidozie Awaziem and Taiwo Awoniyi were also named in the squad.

He also named Ola Aina, William Troost-Ekong, Valentine Ozornwafor, Chidozie Awaziem, Frank Onyeka, Chidera Ejuke, Ademola Lookman and Taiwo Awoniyi in the starting line-up.

Algeria went ahead through Karim Aribi in the 33rd minute – his sixth strike in seven games this season before the Eagles drew level in the second half when the home team changed their entire starting XI.

Francis Uzoho, Adeleye Adebayo, Zaidu Sanusi, Dessers, Saviour Godwin, Terem Moffi, Kevin Akpoguma, Kelechi Iheanacho, Moses Simon, Iwobi, Calvin Bassey and Kenneth Omeruo also took part in the second half.

Algerian coach, Madjid Bougherra, also made wholesale changes to his team in the second half.

Substitute Iwobi underlined the form that has seen been nominated for the Player of the Month for September in the Premier League with a goal.

Another substitute, Dessers, scored his second goal for the Eagles to put Nigeria 2-1 up before Aymen Mahious drew Algeria level.

The Algeria team are preparing for next year’s African Nations Competition, which they will host in January 2023.

This result must be a big boost to their confidence. The Eagles will next play against Algeria’s main team on Tuesday in Oran with their first team players.

Meanwhile, former Nigerian winger, Garba Lawal, believes the Eagles have the capability to win the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations if the team maintains a high rate of hardwork.

The three-time AFCON champions are top of Group A on six points from two games after overcoming Sierra Leon and Sao Tome respectively.

The Atlanta Olympic gold medalist stated that with the calibre of players in Super Eagles coach, Jose Peseiro’s disposal, Nigeria can improve on their 2021 AFCON performance in Cameroon.

“At this stage, I really believe the Super Eagles have the potential to deliver the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations if they can maintain a level of hard work and winning mentality.

“Good enough they have started their AFCON campaign on an excellent note and I hope they sustain that winning mentality. We truly have the players but the team has to do more better.”

Nigeria last won the competition in 2013 and was one of the favourites heading into the 2021 tournament but surprisingly capitulated to Tunisia in the round of 16. The three-time continental champions also lost the 2022 World Cup ticket to rivals Ghana.


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