The Nigerian Super Eagles were held to a 1-1 draw in their final Russia 2018 World Cup Qualifying series at the Stade Mohamed-Hamlaoui, Constatine on Friday evening.
A late spot-kick from captain Yacine Brahimi cancelled out John Ogu’s stunning 63rd minute opener to deny already qualified Gernot Rohr’s side their second away victory of a successful campaign.
Having clinched the sole ticket of the group and injuries to some key players, Gernot Rohr as expected rang changes in the team. Hapoel Beer Sheva’s Anthony Nwakaeme was handed his debut, and was flanked by flanked by Kelechi Iheanacho and Alex Iwobi, while Wilfried Ndidi was retained in midfield alongside Oghenekaro Etebo and John Ogu. Leon Balogun was handed the captain armband as John Obi Mikel watched from the sidelines.
Ola Aina got his first start as the only change in the Eagles’ rearguard in the absence of first choice left-back, Elderson Echiejile.
Both sides threatened with their opening exchanges as Islam Slimani directed a firm header off target in the 23rd second while his Leicester teammate Iheanacho’s cross from the right found no one at the other end.
Algeria through their front trio of Riyad Mahrez, Slimani and Brahimi then piled pressure on the visitors’ defence but all yielded no result.
The first half revolved around the Eagles’ half with Nwakaeme less involved in the game until two minutes before the interval when he had a left-footed effort off Iheanacho’s freekick saved by Faouzi Chaouchi.
Early in the second half, Rabah Madjer’s men threatened first through Slimani but Balogun was on hand to thwart his effort after a smart Mahrez freekick.
The deadlock was however broken when bent a curling effort into the net from distance to hand Rohr’s men the
However, with four minutes before full time, Brahimi equalised from the spot for the Algerians after the Porto man was adjudged to have been fouled by Shehu Abdullahi.
The game ended in a draw to ensure that the Super Eagles finished the qualifiers without losing a single match.