The Super Eagles of Nigeria have lost the first match of their double-header friendly against the Indomitable Lions of Cameroon by a solitary goal from Andre Anguissa.
The defeat at the Wiener Neustadt Stadium in Vienna, Austria on Friday night means the Super Eagles have failed to win a friendly game in the last two years.
The result also gives Cameroon their first win over Nigeria since 2000.
The Super Eagles entered the game hoping their form in competitive ties could bleed into their performances at exhibition matches, and they demonstrated the intent immediately after the kick-off whistle.
Paul Onuachu almost gave Nigeria the lead in the third minute after a spinning delivery off a Kelechi Iheanacho’s freekick met his head at the near post. It, however, took a strong and fast reaction from Simon Omossola, Cameroon goalkeeper, to prevent the ball from going into the net.
The striker also failed to direct his shot low and on target after a brilliant cross from Simon’s cross.
Omossola’s strong arms saved Cameroon yet again as it parried Moses Simon’s shot to keep the game goalless.
Then against the run of play, the Indomitable Lions took the lead in the 36th minute. William Troost-Ekong flew in the path of a cross and the ball ricocheted for Anguissa who hit from 25 yards out and past Maduka Okoye into the net.
The second half resumed and Nigeria became more adventurous than they were before halftime.
Gernot Rohr threw in debutants like Terem Moffi and Abraham Marcus to pry open the Cameroon defence with their youthful exuberance but Omossola was solid in goal for the Central African country.
In the 54th minute, the goalkeeper parried a ferocious strike from Onuachu into the feet of Simon but the winger’s half volley flew high over the crossbar.
Omossola then made two huge stops in quick succession. He stymied a 30-yard freekick powered by Troost-Ekong before reacting quickly to claim another shot from Ogenekaro Etebo.
Nigeria couldn’t find a way past the 23-year-old as the Indomitable Lions cruised to their fifth ever victory over their West African neighbours.
The Super Eagles will face Cameroon again on June 6 for the second leg of the double-header friendly.