Despite a 2-0 defeat, a hurriedly arranged Super Eagles team impressed in the International friendly loss to Costa Rica on Thursday morning in San Jose.
Nigeria paraded a young squad, dominated by members of the Olympic Eagles team and so had a daunting task against their vastly experienced Costa Rican opponents.
Oscar Duarte and Kendall Waston got the goals to gift World-Cup bound Costa Rica victory in front of their cheering home crowd but the Eagles gave a good account of themselves despite the result.
The likes of Dominic Ohaka, Edidiong Ezekiel and Qudus Akanni were a torn in the flesh of their more illustrious opponents in their first appearance for the Super Eagles.
Oscar Duarte fired Costa Rica in front In the 7th minute turning home from a set piece that beat on-rushing goalkepeer Kayode Bankole.
After the goal, a lively Nigerian team shared ball possession honours with the hosts as the pushed for an equalizer.
Qudus Akanni was the inspiration from the middle while Dominic Ohaka shone brightest as he constantly broke free from the flanks as the Eagles threatened on the counter.
Edidiong Ezekiel powered a shot from just outside the area but it flew high over the crossbar, the Remo Stars Sports Club forward’s pace a concern for the Costa Rican defence.
At the break, it was Costa Rica leading by a lone goal.
Fireworks continued in the second half. Despite the resolve and enterprising display of the youthful Nigerian team, it was Costa Rica who got the second goal.
In the 73rd minute, former Arsenal striker Joel Campbell’s cross was met by Kendall Waston’s header to double Costa Rica’s lead.
With the Los Ticos 2-0 up, the tempo dropped as the hosts were comfortable seeing out a victory in their farewell game as they depart for the Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup.
The Luis Suarez tutored Costa Rican team will play in Group E at the World Cup against Spain , Germany and Japan.
The 2022 FIFA World Cup will kickoff on November 20, 2022 in Qatar. Costa Rica’s opponents in today’s friendly game Nigeria will not be at the tournament after failing at the Playoffs to Ghana.
Nigeria’s next game is an international friendly game against another World Cup bound team Portugal on November 17.