The Eagles played a draw in their game against the Zambian team.
A highly debatable penalty awarded Zambia in the 85th minute saw the African Champions secure a 1-1 draw against Nigeria’s Super Eagles on Friday at the ongoing African Cup Nations in Mbompela Stadium in Nelspruit, South Africa.
Emmanuel Emenike had shot Nigeria into the lead in the 57th minute after Mikel Obi threw away a first half penalty kick that could have seen the Eagles in the lead before the break.
Friday’s goal is the second strike from the Spartak Moscow striker, making him the AFCON’s top goal scorer so far.
Nigeria’s best chance for a first half lead came when Nosa Igiebor gave a thorough ball to Ahmed Musa who was hacked down in the Chipolopolo 18-yard box by Davies Nkausu.
Mikel Obi stepped out to take the resultant penalty kick, but his weak flick to the left got a slight touch from the Zambian goalkeeper, Kennedy Meweene, to force a corner kick.
It was the second successive penalty kick being pushed off by the Zambians who were also caught on the back-foot by Ethiopia in their first match.
Three minutes later after the Nigeria miss, the Zambians were close to punishing the Eagles, as long range shot from Chisamaba Lungu was parried into a corner by Vincent Enyeama.
Both teams huffed and puffed, but the first half ended barren.
On resumption of the second half, the Copper Bullets took the game to the Eagles and where close to scoring on various occasions, but were either denied by their poor finishing, or by Nigerian goalie, Enyeama, who put up a superlative performance throughout the match.
Zambia’s effort were finally rewarded, though contentiously, when the Egyptian referee gave a penalty for a 50-50 ball by Ogenyi Onazi in the 85th minute.
Kenedy Mweene scored to ensure a second draw for both sides and all to play for in their last group game against Ethiopia and Burkina Faso respectively in their next games.
Not even a $100,000 promise for a win promised by Rivers State governor, Rotimi Ameachi could spur the Eagles to victory, which could have almost secured Nigeria’s safe passage to the next round.
Meanwhile, talks of sold out tickets for Nigeria’s group C game with Zambia did not correspond with virtually empty stands recorded at the Mbombela stadium in Nelspruit.
The 40,000 capacity Stadium was nowhere near capacity attendance, even as both teams have also complained about the state of the pitch, which they said falls short of the standard of other pitches in the other centers.