By Victor Kanayo
Nigeria’s Super Eagles Tuesday night lost to Algeria’s Desert foxes in an international friendly in Oran.
A controversial penalty tucked in by Riyad Mahrez and a 28-yard scorcher by Youcef Atal ensured victory for the hosts.
Nigeria had gone ahead in the 9th minute when France –based Terem Moffi escaped the attentions of Algerian defenders and hooked the ball into the net as a shot by defender Calvin Bassey was deflected in a goalmouth melee.
Two –time African champions Algeria came close to getting the equalizer 10 minutes later, when goalkeeper Francis Uzoho upended Riyad Mahrez in the box from a counter-attack, but the hosts had already been caught off-side.
Minutes later, the Super Eagles thought they were 2-0 up when Ademola Lookman finished calmly as they counter-attacked, but Algerian referee Mehrez Melki ruled it off-side.
Mahrez would level up for the North Africans five minutes from recess, when he coolly slotted past Uzoho after referee Melki adjudged that Frank Onyeka had fouled Youcef Belaili in the Nigerian box.
The Super Eagles, who were missing several first-team players including strikers Victor Osimhen and Sadiq Umar, midfielder Wilfred Ndidi and defenders William Ekong and Jamilu Collins, created a hatful of chances in a frenetic first half that would have made the game a fait accompli.
The hosts wrapped up the game when Youcef Atal, latching on to a free ball from 28 yards after a corner kick was poorly cleared, slammed past a badly-positioned Uzoho.
Nigeria will next face Portugal in a friendly match in Lisbon on 17th November.