Ecuador overcame Nigeria 1-0 in Friday’s international friendly to record their first victory in 2022.
Pervis Estupinan’s early strike separated the teams in the low-scoring affair at the Red Bull Arena in New Jersey.
The Super Eagles went into the encounter hoping for a return to winning ways after losing 2-1 to Mexico last time out. However, it was the South Americans who had other ideas.
Coach Jose Peseiro retained his starting XI against El Tri except for Innocent Bonke – who was replaced by Katsina United midfielder Sani Faisal.
Just three-minute into the match, Gustavo Alfaro’s side took the lead as Estupian headed a well-taken freekick from Angel Mena past goalkeeper Francis Uzoho.
Inspired by the early setback, the three-time African champions came out stronger but they could not restore parity.
Referee Ricardo Montero waved off a penalty appeal in the 13th minute after goalkeeper Alexander Dominguez appeared to have fouled Terem Moffi in the box.
The 2013 African champions had several scoring opportunities, but Dominguez put up an impressive shift to ensure La Tricolor maintained their lead.
Even with the introduction of Ola Aina and Emmanuel Dennis in the second half, the scoreline did not change as Peseiro lost his second match in charge of the West Africans.
Notwithstanding the back-to-back defeats, president of the Nigeria Football Federation Amaju Pinnick named some positives from the tour of the United States of America.
“I am happy and I can tell you that we fulfilled our objectives of restoring the spirit of the Super Eagles following the failure to qualify for the Fifa World Cup,” he said in a statement made available to GOAL.
“We lost both games against Mexico and Ecuador narrowly but we were up for it and never finished on the back foot. The boys gave a good account of themselves in both games.
“Given the number of first-team players that were not available, we have to praise the boys who showed up here and gave their all.
“They have given us confidence going into the Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers. The despondency is over, and we can now march forward in sure-footed manner.”
While Ecuador continue their preparations for the 2022 Fifa World Cup with a friendly against Mexico on Monday, Peseiro’s squad will return to Nigeria ahead of their 2023 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers versus Sierra Leone and Sao Tome and Principe.