By Arinze Ude
Nigeria kicked off the preparations for the upcoming Africa Cup of Nations against a Catalonia side with a heavy presentation of FC Barcelona players – nine (9) in total.
Catalonia and other regions of Spain like the Basque and Andalusian Countries play friendlies but do not compete in official international competitions.
The Eagles seemed disorganised right from kick off and gave away a penalty in the third minute of the game. Former Deportivo La Coruna midfielder Sergio Gonzalez, who has more caps for Catalonia than any other player, converted the resulting penalty to give the Catalans the lead at Espanyol’s Cornella-El Prat stadium.
The Catalans were in great control of the game and went into the break with a goal lead. In the second half, Portland Timbers, Bright Dike who was appearing in just his second game for the Super Eagles, equalised for Nigeria.
The match brought to an end Johann Cruyff’s reign as Catalonia coach. He took the post in 2009 but announced he would retire after the game because he just turned 65, saying he’s reached the retirement age.
The Africa Cup of Nations will be hosted by South Africa and runs from Jan. 19 to Feb. 10. Nigeria is in a group with titleholder Zambia, Ethiopia and Burkina Faso.
Catalonia: Casilla, Piqué, V.Sánchez, Puyol, Xavi, S.García, S.González (A.Vázquez, 12’), Bojan, Verdú, Bartra and Capdevila. A.Vázquez (12’), Montoya (45’), Codina (46’), Amat (46’), Alba (46’), Sergio (46’), Sergio Tejera (46’), Sergi Roberto (46’), Tello (46’), Soriano (46’), Piti (46’).
Nigeria: Chigozie, Godfrey, Francis, Ogude, Solomon, Azubuike, Brown, Bright, Ejike, Ogenyi and Sunday. Musa (52’), Kenneth (56’), Uche (60’), Emmanuel (60’), Raheem (66’).
Goals: 1-0, Sergio González (3’, SK), 1-1 Bright (54’).
Referee: Xavier Estrada Fernández.