In a tense opening match of the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations, Nigeria narrowly avoided a shock defeat against Equatorial Guinea, as Victor Osimhen swiftly equalized following Iban Salvador's surprise opener.
Despite Equatorial Guinea being 46 places below Nigeria in the world rankings, Salvador's classy first-half finish momentarily threatened an upset. The match ended in a draw, leaving both teams with two points, trailing behind Ivory Coast, who secured a 2-0 victory over Guinea-Bissau in the tournament's opening game.
Equatorial Guinea celebrated taking the lead ecstatically, but their joy was short-lived as Osimhen promptly converted Ademola Lookman's cross, leveling the score. Goalkeeper Jesus Owono's exceptional second-half saves frustrated the Super Eagles, and Osimhen missed a crucial chance after breaking clear. Despite Nigeria's dominance, they couldn't break the deadlock against the resilient Equatorial Guinea side.
Nigeria, three-time continental champions, are eager to clinch the trophy for the first time since 2013. However, they face tough competition in a group that includes Ivory Coast, another strong contender.
Equatorial Guinea, on the other hand, will look to build on their resilient performance as they face Guinea-Bissau in their next match. The Africa Cup of Nations promises more intense clashes as teams vie for supremacy in the prestigious tournament.