How Eagles, Barcelona stars shared spoils in the Battle of Catalonia

Posted by News Express | 2 January 2013 | 4,142 times

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Africa Cup of Nations-bound Super Eagles of Nigeria this night gave a good account of themselves, sharing spoils with hosts Catalunya (Catalonia) in a friendly match played on the home ground of La Liga giants Espanyol.

Big-hearted Coach Stephen Keshi threw seven home-based players into the starting line-up apparently to toughen them up psychologically ahead of the African soccer war in South Africa from Jan. 19 to Feb.10.

The move appeared to have been a mistake when an unsettled Fegor Ogude handled the ball in the vital area barely three minutes into the game and Sergio Gonzalez stepped forward to cooly tuck the ball behind goalkeeper and skipper Chigozie Agbim.

The Eagles however soon settled down against the Catalonian Selected that featured ten stars of all-conquering Barcelona, with the legendary Puyol and Pique in the starting line-up. Catalonia is an autonomous region of Spain with a population of over 7 million people.

Keshi stuck to his starting line-up till the end of the first half but introduced more experienced foreign-based stars such as Ahmed Musa, Emmanuel Emenike and Ikechukwu Uche in the second half.

Before then, however, the Eagles had leveled scores in the 54th minute when they surged forward in a counter-attack, with Ogenyi Onazi passing to Bright Dike, who shook off his marker before powering home with his left.

The Eagles will now return to their camp in Faro, Portugal, to continue preparations for the Cup of Nations. The team will further be strengthened with skipper Yobo Joseph, his deputy Vincent Enyeama, second choice goalkeeper Dele Aiyenugba, as well as the Chelsea duo of Mikel Obi and Victor Moses, who are yet to report to camp. The team have one more friendly against Nations Cup-bound Cape Verde before the tournament kicks off at the at the 90,000-seat Soccer City Stadium in Johannesburg.

Photo: Dike celebrates after putting Nigeria back on level terms.

Source: News Express

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