The Super Eagles of Nigeria were not totally convincing with their display in Wednesday’s international friendly match, but the African side defeated their South American opponents 3-1 in the tie played in Miami, Florida in United States of America.The encounter, which started at 8pm in USA, 2am early Thursday in Nigeria, saw Oguenyi Onazi, Nosa Igiebor and Brown Ideye scoring for the Eagles, while the Venezuelans pulled one back through Frank Feltscher.
Coach Stephen Keshi, who has plenty of positives to take away from the 2013 African Cup of Nations build up match at Marlins Park, started an average squad which had Obafemi Martins and Brown Ideye as arrow heads, but the pair did not really jell throughout the first half.
The Nigerian team were also shaky in the defence, as Elderson Echiejiele, Oboaboba, Kwambe Solomon and Egwueke exposed goalkeeper Austin Ejide right from the blast of the whistle.
Ejide, who captained the Eagles was made to do extra work to keep the ball away from the net, but his reflex was really tested in the 36th minute when the Venezuelans broke through the Nigerian defence. But Ejide was quick off his line and made a brave, diving save to deny the Vino Tinto a goal there.
The Eagles then managed to push forward, but Martins shot wide when he had a chance inside the box in the 40th minute. The Levante striker was desperate to score, but may need another tie to prove he deserves a place in the squad.
Venezuela had chances to score again but Rondon, Rivas & Arango failed to punish the Nigerians for not playing a cohesion game with their awful passes.
Ideye and Martins also blew chances, leaving the scoreline 0-0 at half time.
Ideye however shot Nigeria into the lead with a cool finish inside the box when he tapped in a cross from Kwambe barely four minutes into the second half. It was a timely goal that silenced the noisy Venezuela fans on the night.
The Venezuelans were just trying to fight back when Igiebor made it 2-0 for the Eagles in the 53rd minute with a fantastic goal. He chested the ball and released a shot from about 30 yards away to give a few Nigerians at the stadium something to cheer.
In the 61st minute, Newcastle’s Shola Ameobi finally achieved his dream to play for Nigeria, as Keshi pulled out Martins to give him about 30 minutes to prove himself.
However, substitute Feltscher reduced the tally for Venezuela when he netted a fine build-up play by his team.
The Nigerian defence was in tatters again in the 88th minute, as Venezuela broke through but Ejide came up with another huge, brave save.
Ameobi showed his strength in the last minute as he held up play and linked up with Onazi, the Synagogue boy, who drilled home from inside the box to score the third goal and sealed victory for Nigeria in America.