Ameobi scores brilliant goal as Nigeria draw with Italy
By Mike Collett
LONDON (Reuters) - Italy and Nigeria played out a thrilling 2-2 draw which included a goal-of-the-season contender from Shola Ameobi in an entertaining friendly at Fulham's Craven Cottage on Monday.
Italy dominated the game but the African champions, who joined their opponents at next year's World Cup on Saturday, produced a few magical touches and defended superbly as the Italians pounded their goal in search of a late winner.
Italy coach Cesare Prandelli made eight changes from the team that drew 1-1 with Germany in a friendly on Friday and his side dominated the early stages after going ahead in the 12th minute when Mario Balotelli set up Giuseppe Rossi.
Rossi, shrugging off a bout of tonsillitis, showed great composure to shift the ball from one foot to the other before scoring.
Nigeria coach Stephen Keshi made seven changes from the team which sealed their World Cup place by beating Ethiopia.
The African side gradually played their way back into the game, Victor Moses troubling the Italian defense with bursts down both wings.
Nigeria equalized in the 35th minute when a deep raking cross from Ameobi was powerfully headed past goalkeeper Salvatore Sirigu by Bright Dike.
That meant that the first two goals were scored by two players born one day apart in the United States on February1 and February 2, 1987. Rossi was born in New Jersey to Italian parents and Dike in Oklahoma to Nigerian parents. Continued...