Cote D’Ivoire beat African champions Nigeria 1-0 in Abu Dhabi on Sunday night thanks to a late goal from former Chelsea forward Salomon Kalou.
The Elephants attacked more in the game, but they were unable to find a way through against the equally impressive Super Eagles side who stood tall to them.
With both coaches fielding talented players in the build up game, the two teams treated the fans to a classic, but the one-time African Cup of Nations winners nevertheless managed to emerge triumphant with Kalou’s 84th-minute strike.
Super Eagles stand-in coach Daniel Amokachi handed starts to enterprising Stanley Dimgba and Nigeria Professional Football League top marksman Mfon Udoh.
There was a worrying sight for Elephants fans in the opening exchanges when the dangerous Gambo Mohammed side-footed his effort from close range.
Cote D’Ivoire fielded majority of their stars with African Footballer of the Year, Yaya Toure getting a good match from the fearless Joseph Nathaniel in the midfield.
AS Roma winger, Gervinho should have given the Elephants the lead in the 27th minute of the match when he beat the Nigeria defence, but he was denied by goalkeeper Chigozie Agbim.
Cote D’Ivoire threatened again when Serge Aurier headed wide from a corner kick and the first half ended goalless in Abu Dhabi.
In a bid to grab the winner, the Cote D’Ivoire technical crew led by Hervé Renard threw more bodies upfront and pressurised the Super Eagles side in the second half.
At the home stretch, Newcastle United midfielder Chieck Tiote found Kalou in the area and the forward slotted the past Agbim in goal for Nigeria.
Nigeria’s tour of United Arab Emirates will come to an end with a game against the Falcons of Sudan on 17th January, 2015.
Meanwhile, former Swiss junior international, Steven Ukoh, whose application to represent Nigeria at senior level was recently approved by world football-governing body, FIFA, made his international debut for the team as a second half substitute.
Here is how they started:
Nigeria XI: Agbim Chigozie, Azubuike Egwuekwe, Reuben Ogbonna, Akas Chima, Solomon Kwambe, Nathaniel Joseph, Sokari Kingsley, Rabiu Ali, Mfon Udoh, Dimgba Stanley, Mohammed Gambo
Ivory Coast XI: Gbohouo, Kolo, Bailly, Kanon, Aurier, Y.Toure, Serey, Tiote, Gervinho, Tallo, Assale