Nigeria returned to winning ways with a less than convincing 2-1 defeat of Sierra Leone in an international friendly at the Teslim Balogun Stadium , Lagos on Wednesday. It was new coach Samson Siasia’s first game in charge of the team.
Two first half goals from Marseille defender Taye Taiwo and debutant Warri Wolves’ Ekigho Ehiosun put the Eagles in the lead to the delight of Lagos fans who were seeing the team for the first time since 2002.
The Leone Stars’ goal was scored by Mohammed Bangura late in the second half.
Taiwo put the home side ahead in the 15th minute after Peter Utaka was fouled in the penalty box. Taiwo’s shot into the low right corner beat John Tryre in the Sierra Leonean goal to give the Super Eagles a lift.
Nigeria got a cushion when substitute Ehiosun got on the end of a Joel Obi cross to tap in beyond Tryre for the second goal on 45 minutes.
Ehiosun, the Nigeria Premier League’s leading scorer came on for another debutant Emmanuel Emenike who was stretched out after a collision with a Leone Stars player.
It was the Leone Stars who made the first impression of the game when Bangura sent a cheeky cross that almost beat Nigeria keeper Dele Aiyenugba who punched for a corner kick.
Veteran Mohammed Kallon tried to spur on his team but they were met by a stoic defence led by Joseph Yobo who started out shaky but soon gained confidence.
Afterwards it was the Super Eagles who dominated the match with debutant Inter’s Joel Obi leading the midfield charge. Soon enough the home crowd began to chant his praise screaming “Obi, Obi, Obi” into the night air.
It was not long after when Obi sent in the cross to Ehiosun to seal both players’ debut with an assist and a goal.
Siasia also handed debuts to Sienna defender Michael Odibe, Kano Pillars’ Wasiu Sowemimo and Osas Okoro in the absence of Obiora Nwankwo.
The Eagles, however, lost the support of the home crowd when Bangura scored the Stars’ goal. The critical Lagos crowd booed them and cheered the Stars for the remainder of the game.
It was hardly the opening that Siasia expected at the end of the day.
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