2018 International Friendly, International Friendly
  • William Troost-Ekong (15')
  • Ben Malango (78' PEN)

Disappointing Nigeria held by DR Congo

Nigeria coach Gernot Rohr has a policy of focusing on young talent. EPA/YURI KOCHETKOV

Lacklustre Nigeria were held to a 1-1 draw by the Democratic Republic of Congo in Port Harcourt on Monday, with William Troost-Ekong's opener cancelled out by Ben Malango's penalty.

The game served as both a send-off for the Super Eagles, who will travel to Europe to face England on Saturday, and as a valuable opportunity for Gernot Rohr to assess some of his peripheral options albeit on a rather bumpy pitch.

Simeon Nwankwo and Junior Lokosa were handed international debuts in attack, and it was the former who impressed and came closest to opening his account, firing an effort against the woodwork in the third minute.

It didn't long for the opening goal to arrive, when Ogenyi Onazi's quick free kick was tucked in by Troost-Ekong in the 15th minute for his first international goal.

However, Nigeria failed to sustain the tempo, with the midfielders unable to keep possession and influence the contest in the final third. Lokosa and Nwankwo ultimately found themselves isolated in attack.

The Congolese gained the upper hand in the second half, but were denied on a number of occasions by some smart saves by Francis Uzoho, although the 19-year-old was fortunate not to give away a penalty.

However, the Eagles were ultimately undone at the back, when substitute Ola Aina gave away a penalty when he fouled Issama Mpeko, although television replays suggested the incident occurred outside the area.

Malango sent Uzoho the wrong way to level the scores in the 77th minute, ensuring the fans who thronged the Adokiye Amiesimaka Stadium went home disappointed at the final whistle.