A solitary strike from Ifeanyi Matthew on the dot of half time gave the home base Eagles of Nigeria a 1-0 victory over Cote D’ivoire in a warm up game ahead of CHAN 2016.
The first half was an even affair with both team having a fair share of possession but wastefulness in front of goal especially from Nigeria kept the scores at 0-0 in the opening 15 minutes.
Barthlomew Ibenegbu struck the post with a ferocious effort for Nigeria while Ezekiel Bassey wasted a one on once chance that could easily have given Nigeria the lead.
Tunde Adeniji was guilty of sloppy play upfront but the Sunshine man showed his skillfull side by turning away from his marker to unleash a shot in the 35th minute that sailed narrowly wide off the Ivory Coast goal.
Goalkepper Ezenwa twice bailed out Nigeria with point blank saves while a goal line clearance from Stephen Eze and later Chima Akas ensured Nigeria hanged on before taking the lead through Ifeanyi Matthew.
Ifeanyi Matthew by far Nigeria best performer in the first half deservedly got the goal his performance deserves with a rifler to put Nigeria one goal up almost at the sound of the half time whistle.
The second half saw an improved performance from the Ivory Coast but Ezenwa was particularly outstanding but owes part of his confident display to the centre back combo of Jamiu Alimi and Stephen Eze.
A flurry of substitute by both teams killed off the urgency in the game but Nigeria hanged on to claim a 1-0 win their first friendly win ahead of CHAN 2016 which starts on the 16th of January after the 1-1 draw with Angola.