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The eight-match unbeaten run which the Super Eagles had maintained since losing 2-1 to Argentina at the Russia 2018 World Cup last June 26 was on Sunday terminated by Senegal in Egypt.

The match was the last friendly match the Super Eagles had scheduled ahead of the Africa Cup of Nations, which begins on Friday.

Nigeria’s opening match will be on Saturday against first timers, Burundi.

In the duel with Senegal, Africa’s long time leaders on the monthly FIFA rankings, no thanks to the 20th minute goal by Idrissa Gueye, who capitalized on a defensive mix-up to score the record wrecking run.


Nigeria came close to drawing level on a number of occasions with Odion Ighalo and Wilfred Ndidi almost leveling proceedings before the interval.

Both coaches, who agreed to the game being played behind closed doors, made good use of the opportunity to make their maximum changes. 

The better chances in the second half fell to the Nigerians with Samuel Chukwueze’s close range shot blocked with a last ditch tackle and substitute Oghenekaro Etebo’s free kick on the edge of the box rattling the cross bar.

Before the loss to Senegal, recalls that the Super Eagles have won five of their last eight matches and drew 1-1 with South Africa, 0-0 with Uganda and Zimbabwe.

Nigeria’s starting 11
Daniel Akpeyi, Samuel Kalu, Jamilu Collins, Kenneth Omeruo, William Ekong, John Ogu, Wilfred Ndidi, Mikel Obi, Alex Iwobi, Samuel Chukwueze and Odion Ighalo


Substitutions: Collins (Ola Aina), Ogu (Oghenekaro Etebo), Chukwueze (Henry Onyekuru), Iwobi (Moses Simon), Ighalo (Victor Osimhen) and Kalu (Chidozie Awaziem).

Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.

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