Italy Force Nigeria To 2-2 Draw

Nigeria’s Super Eagles were forced to 2-2 by Italy in an international friendly match played at Craven in London Monday night.
The Eagles, who defeated Ethiopia 2-0 in their last World Cup qualifying playoff at the U.J Esuene Stadium in Calabar on Saturday, conceded a goal early in the first half, and replied by scoring twice before the break. But the Nigerian team conceded another goal from the Azzuri in the second half.
Italy scored their first goal through Rossi; when Balotelli displayed his ball control instinct, and sent a straight pass to the forward who brilliantly chipped the ball beyond Nigeria goalkeeper, Austin Ejide.
Balotelli would have increased the tally for the Italians immediately, but he failed to connect inside the vital area.
What looked close to an earlier equaliser came from Lazio midfielder, Ogenyi Onazi, whose shot was parried into touch by Italy’s goalkeeper, Sirigu.
The Azzuri continued their domination of the match, as Pasquale, Rossi and Balotelli switched dangerous incursions into the Eagles’ area, while the Nigerian side, which paraded Chelsea’s John Mikel Obi, Victor Moses of Liverpool and Newcastle’s Shola Ameobi were made to struggle for ball possession in the thrilling encounter.
A visibly worried Keshi vacated his bench and roamed around the touch-line to urge his Brazil 2014 World Cup bound squad on.
The effort paid off, as the Eagles summoned the courage to take the game to their Italian opponents.
Moses floated a brilliant cross, but it was deflected into touch by Angelo Ogbonna, a Nigerian-born player who starred for Italy on the night.
Italian goalkeeper was however kept busy by the fluid forward play of the Eagles from the 30th minute, and he finally succumbed to pressure when Bright Dike jumped high to head home Nigeria’s equaliser via a pull out from Ameobi in the 35th minute.
The goal energized the African champions, as Moses almost increased the tally in the 40th minute. The Newcastle man, Ameobi however powered home a clinical volley which ensured that Nigeria went into the first half break with a 2-1 lead.
The second half began on a high, with Balotelli becoming a dangerous man who consistently terrorized the Nigerian defence, which stood tall and attempted to maintain the score line. But the Azzuri finally leveled score to 2-2 through Giacherini.
Eagles’ number one goalkeeper, Vincent Enyeama came in to assist the Nigerian side, saving three efforts from Italy, while Moses and substitutes, Dickson Ogu, Ahmed Musa and Emmanuel Emenike struggled to score.
However, the Italians maintained their cool till end of the action packed match, which recorded a large turnout of Nigerian fans in England.

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