In a FIFA friendly match on Friday evening, October 13, the Super Eagles of Nigeria were held to a 2-2 draw by Saudi Arabia, who managed to score a crucial last-minute free-kick, denying Nigeria a potential victory.
Nigeria came close to securing the win after scoring two goals in the final moments of the match. Despite being initially behind, an own goal and an impressive strike by Kelechi Iheanacho gave José Peserio’s team a 2-1 lead in the 80th minute. However, Saudi Arabia managed to equalize in extra time, resulting in an intense draw.
The game saw Saudi Arabia’s goalkeeper denying Boniface a chance to open the scoring charts in the 19th minute. Nigeria also had opportunities to score, with Onyemaechi’s cross finding Chukwueze, but his attempt went wide.
In the 36th minute, Saudi Arabia made their first effort on goal, but goalkeeper Francis Uzoho made a solid save. Osimhen and Lookman also had their chances, with Osimhen’s attempt narrowly missing the crossbar and Lookman failing to convert a fine through pass from Chukwueze.
At the start of the second half, Iwobi made a crucial block to prevent Saudi Arabia from scoring through a dangerous cross. Nigeria was forced into an early substitution on the 55th minute as Osimhen left the field due to an injury and was replaced by Terem Moffi.
In the 60th minute, Saudi Arabia took the lead as Uzoho deflected a swung freekick into the net, scored by Salman Al Faraj. The team came close to scoring again, but defender Calvin Bassey made a vital block.
Boniface attempted a shot just outside the box in the 68th minute, but his effort went over the bar. The Super Eagles equalized in the 72nd minute when Abdulelah Al Amri inadvertently slotted Moses Simon’s cross into his own net. Iheanacho then gave Nigeria the lead in the 81st minute with a well-curled shot after Saudi Arabia failed to clear their lines.
In the 85th minute, Umar Sadiq had the opportunity to add a third goal but failed to connect with Iheanacho’s cross. Iheanacho himself attempted a shot in the 89th minute, only for it to be punched away by the Saudi goalkeeper.
However, in the 99th minute, Mohamed Kanno’s well-taken freekick found the back of the net after a slight deflection, resulting in a dramatic equalizer for Saudi Arabia.
The Super Eagles will now prepare for their next friendly game against Mozambique on Monday, October 16.