A Nigeria B selection were narrowly beaten 3-2 by Atletico Madrid on Tuesday in the GOtv Max Cup at the Godswil Akpabio international Stadium in Uyo.
The Super Eagles team, which comprised both home and foreign-based players, impressed against the UEFA Europa League champions, netting two stunning goals against La Liga’s best defence.
Arsenal’s Kelechi Nwakali, who spent the second-half of the season on loan at MVV Maastricht, was the standout player, and curled a majestic effort past Jan Oblak in the 31st minute to give the hosts the lead.
The Eagles’ lead lasted only two minutes, however, as excessive show boating by Emem Eduok in his own half led to a turnover, and Angel Correa confidently finished with the outside of his right foot after a break.
Atletico took the lead for the first time just past the hour-mark, when departing club legend Fernando Torres, on as a half-time substitute, leapt unchallenged to power a header past Femi Thomas only moments after entering.
Despite trailing, the Eagles remained unperturbed as they matched their more illustrious opponents in every area. The introduction of Tosin Omoyele led to an invigorated approach, with the Plateau United forward leading the high press in attack.
The Atletico defence line struggled to cope with Omoyele’s impressive hassling, and the striker duly played in Usman Mohammed, another substitute, who evaded his markers before slotting home a superb equaliser in the 80th minute.
Nigeria weren’t able to maintain their concentration until the death, and 18-year-old Borja Garces fired home a late winner as Atleti sealed the victory five minutes from time.