The Super Eagles of Nigeria on Sunday in Abu Dhabi lost 0-1 to their West African rivals Cote d’Ivoire in an international friendly.
The Nigeria team that is temporarily being handled by Coach Daniel Amokachi did give a good account of themselves as they stood up tall against the star-studded Ivorian team heading to the Africa Cup of Nations in Equatorial Guinea.
The Nigeria team made largely of home based players held the Ivoirians for the better part of the game but caved in the 84th minute when former Chelsea-star, Salamon Kalou, broke the deadlock with a smooth finish.
Coach Amokachi handed starting roles to the duo of Stanley Dimgba and the Nigeria League top scorer for last season, Mfon Udoh. But the two players, hard as they tried, could not find the back of the net
It was at the home stretch that Newcastle United midfielder, Chieck Tiote, found Kalou in the area and the forward slotted the ball past Chigozie Agbim who was in goal for Nigeria and also captain of the side.
With the Ivorian friendly over, the Nigeria team on tour of United Arab Emirates will hope they can end on a high with a win against the Falcons of Sudan on January 17.
Meanwhile, former Swiss junior international, Steven Ukoh, whose application to represent Nigeria at senior level was recently approved by world football-governing body, FIFA, made his international debut for the Nigeria as a second half substitute in the game against Cote d’Ivoire.