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Nigeria force draw in controversial friendly

28 May 2014 21:47:04

Nigeria force draw in controversial friendly

World Cup finals bound Nigeria had to come from behind twice to draw 2-2 with Scotland in London in a match which is subject to a match fixing investigation.

The build-up to the game between the Africa Cup of Nations champions and the improving Scots had been overshadowed by reports that Britain's serious crime squad had launched a match fixing investigation.

The National Crime Agency, which investigates serious and organised crime, is said to have asked world football's governing body FIFA to issue an alert over attempts to influence the game at Fulham's stadium Craven Cottage.

The NCA are said to have told FIFA they have general information from Asian betting markets suggesting there had been attempts to rig the friendly and they hoped to stop any suspect activities by issuing the alert.

A FIFA spokesman said they worked closely with law enforcement agencies and other sports organisations to tackle match manipulation, and encouraged anyone with information to contact their integrity hotline or confidential reporting system.

On the pitch Scotland -- now unbeaten in six games under Gordon Strachan -- made the perfect start as Charlie Mulgrew opened the scoring after 10 minutes before Michael Uchebo equalised with four minutes left of the first half.

Scotland came out with plenty of fight after the break and Nigerian goalkeeper Azubuike Egwuekwe turned in James Morrison's cross in the 52nd minute to put the Scots back into the lead.

But super-sub Uche Nwofor converted an equaliser in stoppage time of a game in which they had looked second best throughout.

Mulgrew didn't know too much about his opener as James Morrison rifled in a shot from the edge of the box which cannoned off his team-mate's foot and looped up and over goalkeeper Austine Ejide in the 10th minute.

There had been early warning signs for the Super Eagles as Watford's Ikechi Anya, who has a Nigerian father and was eligible to play for the opposition, dragged a shot wide in the opening five minutes.

The game was the 'host's' last before flying to play Greece and then the United States in North America and kicking off their games in Brazil against Iran on June 16 in Curitiba.

And despite a sluggish start they were back in it when Ucehbo's 25-yard shot flew into the back of the net with the help of a deflection off Grant Hanley.

The Scots re-took the lead soon after the break through more impressive play.

The roar of the Scottish supporters boosted their players and West Brom's Morrison saw his shot turned into his own net by Egwuekwe.

However, Nwofor sent the Super Eagles flying again as he turned in a 90th-minute effort from close range past Allan McGregor.


AFP

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