Nigeria 2-2 Scotland: Nwofor rescues draw for Keshi’s side

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A late Uche Nwofor strike
rescued a draw for Nigeria
against Scotland on
Wednesday.
In the first of three friendlies
in the build-up to Brazil, Stephen Keshi left the likes
of Vincent Enyeama and John Obi Mikel out of the
matchday squad against a Scotland side resurgent
under Gordon Strachan.
Scotland are now six games unbeaten but were
denied a fifth win in that run by Nwofor’s late
equaliser at Craven Cottage.
Charlie Mulgrew gave them the lead 10 minutes in
when he produced a clever flick to divert James
Morrison’s long-distance effort over Nigeria’s
second-choice goalkeeper Austin Ejide.
However, Nigeria were level four minutes before the
break when Michael Uchebo’s effort from outside of
the area was deflected in off Grant Hanley.
Gordon Strachan’s side were back in front early in
the second thanks to Azubuike Egwuekwe’s own-
goal but Nwofor pounced on sloppy defending from
Gordon Greer and Hanley to fire home.
It leaves Keshi with much to ponder ahead of
friendlies against Greece and the USA and their
Group F opener against Iran in Curitiba on June 16
Ikechi Anya went close early on, as he chested a
long ball down and shot across goal only for his
effort to strike the post before Uchebo’s effort at the
other end was saved – as he intercepted a careless
pass from Alan Hutton.
Mulgrew then produced a moment of magic as he
managed to flick Morrison’s wayward effort over
Ejide.
Shola Ameobi should have come closer to equalising
but could only spoon a free-kick over with Shaun
Maloney next to hit an effort high and wide from
distance.
Scotland almost edged two goals ahead when Hanley
headed a ball in – only for the Blackburn Rovers
defender to be denied by the referee’s whistle after
he was adjudged to have fouled Ejide.
Hanley’s misfortune continued before the interval as
he was the unlucky party to deflect Uchebo’s strike
past Allan McGregor.
However, Scotland restored their lead after the break
when Egwuekwe inadvertently turned the ball into his
own net following Hutton’s cross.
Maloney thought he had extended their advantage
when he tapped home Hutton’s delivery before the
linesman flagged for offside.
Keshi introduced attacking trio Victor Moses, Peter
Odemwingie and Nwofor in the second half and it
was the latter who drilled home from an acute angle
late in the game for Nigeria – who next face Greece
in Pennsylvania on June 3.

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