AFRICA CUP OF NATIONS: CHELSEA TRIO DRAW

Posted on: Fri 25 Jan 2013

John Mikel Obi missed a first-half penalty and created a second-half goal as Nigeria drew their second group game at the Africa Cup of Nations.

As in their opener against Burkina Faso, the Super Eagles let a lead slip late on. This time they were the victims of a dubious penalty award, converted by Zambia keeper Kennedy Mweene to make it 1-1 after Emmanuel Emenike had put Nigeria ahead.

The game, held in Nelspruit in South Africa, livened up in the second half. Mikel's penalty was pretty much the only incident of note before the break.

Davies Nkausu clearly fouled Ahmed Musa in the 25th minute but from the spot, Mikel hit the outside of the post.

All three Chelsea players in the Nigeria squad started the match, Victor Moses and Kenneth Omerou for the first time in the Cup of Nations finals.

Omeruo, the 19-year-old central defender currently on loan at Den Haag, came in for suspended Efe Ambrose and survived a first-half knock to the head to complete the game.

Moses had recovered from the hamstring strain that kept him out of Nigeria's opening game and played 78 minutes. Operating in a wide position, he had a dangerous looking cross cut out in one of the few attacks of note before the interval, and was then prominent as Nigeria applied pressure early in the second-half.

In the face of this improved football, Zambia, the trophy holders, cracked in the 56th minute when Mikel won the ball deep in their half and threaded a ball forward for Emenike to finish well.

But having gone behind, Zambia started to threaten for the first time since the early stages, however they were fortunate when mild contact on the very edge of the penalty area was adjudged a foul just inside it, and their keeper Mweene scored an extraordinary penalty into the roof of the net, just under the crossbar.

All three games so far in this four-team group have been draws with Burkina Faso to play Ethiopia later on Friday. Nigeria have plenty of work to do when they play Ethiopia on Tuesday if they are to make the knockout stages.