Substitute Nnamdi Oduamadi scored a late equaliser to deny Kenya a maiden victory over Nigeria in a 1-1 World Cup qualifying draw in Calabar.
African champions Nigeria were left stunned as Francis Kahata gave the visitors the lead with a sweetly struck free-kick after 36 minutes at U.J. Esuene Stadium.
To the immense relief of the home supporters, Oduamadi sealed a stoppage-time equaliser to salvage a point for Nigeria, who share top spot in Group F with Malawi on five points.
Nigeria looked impressive in the early stages, with Chelsea midfielder Victor Moses sparking their attacks through several galloping runs.
But the hosts’ forwards were either thwarted by Arnold Origi in the Kenyan goal, or clumsily drifted into offside positions.
Against the run of play, it was Kenya who took the lead, Kahata curling in a delightful strike past Vincent Enyeama to leave the home fans stunned.
The second half continued in the same vein, Nigeria dominating possession and camping out in the Kenyan half, but ultimately failing to create meaningful chances.
A good opportunity fell to Obafemi Martins, but despite Moses’s sumptuous delivery, the former Newcastle man could only fire his header wide of Origi’s post.
It began to look like Nigeria’s 13-match unbeaten streak against Kenya would be coming to an end, as Adel Amrouche, enjoying his first game as Kenya coach, neared a famous victory.
Simultaneously, the visitors appeared to grow in stature defensively – consistently thwarting Nigeria’s attackers with a resolute rearguard.
Amrouche was sent to the stands late on after exchanging a few choice words with the linesman, and he watched on in anguish as his side’s resolve was broken at the death.
After a scramble inside the Kenyan penalty area, Oduamadi was on hand to fire home a 93rd-minute equaliser and spare Nigeria’s blushes.
It was a bitter pill to swallow for the visitors, but it may be Nigeria coach Stephen Keshi and his men who have more questions to answer after an uninspiring performance.
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