The Super Eagles got a well deserved 1-1 draw against five -time world champions Brazil in a prestige international friendly in Singapore yester night.
Seven minutes into the match Marquinhos could have put Nigeria in front with a bizarre own goal after his attempt to clear Chukwueze’s pull-out went wrong.
Villarreal FC of Spain’s Chukwueze was a thorn in the flesh of the Selecao throughout, and created chances for Nigeria in the 20th and 24th minute but Osimhen was cut out by an alert Brazilian rear.
In the 28th minute, Francis Uzoho showed excellent agility in cutting out a powerful header by the ubiquitous Gabriel Jesus. Two minutes later, Uzoho was again alert to foil a shot by Firmino, and then reacted faster than Philip Coutinho as the ball danced in the box.
In the 35th minute, Nigeria broke through again, this time mining gold. Joseph Ayodele-Aribo, who scored on his debut in the friendly against Ukraine in Dnipro last month, kept his cool and showed cleverness in taking a pass from Moses Simon and ghosting past Casemiro and Thiago Silva to shoot past Ederson for the opener.
In the second half, the Selecao launched onslaught after onslaught, and equalized in the 48th minute as Casemiro reacted faster than the defence when the ball bounced off the crossbar from a Marquinhos header.
In the 53rd minute, Osimhen leapt between two defenders but his header was not strong enough to rattle Ederson. Three minutes later, Uzoho pulled another big save from a Gabriel Jesus header. On the hour, the Cyprus -based Uzoho had to leave the session after twisting his leg as he went for the ball from a Brazilian corner.
His replacement, Maduka Okoye, was not much troubled though he showed calmness. In the closing stages, Semi Ajayi was excellent with some game -saving interventions at the Nigerian rear.
The result was also a huge improvement from Nigeria’s 0-3 defeat to the Selecao in a friendly match in Abuja in June 2003.