Nigeria’s Super Eagles on Tuesday night beat Liberia, complete with former captain and current President George Weah 2-1 in an Exhibition Game to mark the retirement of Weah’s Number 14 jersey with the national team.
The Eagles defeated Seychelles 3-0 in a 2019 AFCON qualifier on Saturday but were made to travel for this hurriedly arranged fixture although top stars like Ahmed Musa, Odion Ighalo, Ogenyi Onazi, Leon Balogun, Francis Uzoho and a few others left for their clubs after Saturday’s game.
Henry Onyekuru, making his first start for Nigeria in over a year scored the game’s opening goal with a brilliant 20-yard strike, cutting in from the left before unleashing a ferocious drive beyond the goalkeeper. Italy based forward, Simy Nwankwo doubled Nigeria’s lead with a glancing header to give the Eagles a 2-0 lead at half time.
Liberia had Weah – the 1995 World, African and European Footballer of the Year – in action for seventy nine minutes while his former national teammate James Debbah played for an hour. Both players were in the Liberian side which lost to Nigeria en route to the 2002 World Cup in Port Harcourt.
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Every touch of Weah was cheered by the spectators and the Lone Stars got their consolatory goal in the dying moments of the game from the penalty spot. Nigeria coach Gernot Rohr was able to give full national team debuts for defenders Semi Ajayi, Jamilu Collins and midfielder Kelechi Nwakali with John Ogu captaining the team from a centre back position.
All home based players called up for the game came on as second half substitutes with the exception of goalkeeper Ikechukwu Ezenwa who started the game. Ebube Duru and Adeleye Aniyikaye came on at half time while Enyimba’s duo of Sunday Adetunji and Mfon Udoh were introduced midway through the second half.
Ezenwa; Awaziem, S. Ajayi, Ogu, Jamilu; Joel Obi, Ndidi, Nwakali, Etebo, Onyekuru; Simy Nwankwo.