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Page last updated at 10:28 GMT, Monday, 31 May 2010 11:28 UK

Colombia hold an improved Nigeria

By Oluwashina Okeleji
BBC Sport, Milton Keynes

Nigeria celebrate scoring against Colombia
Lukman Haruna is hoisted onto the shoulders of his team mates

Nigeria are still searching for their first victory under coach Lars Lagerback after a 1-1 draw with Colombia on Sunday.

This was a last chance for the Nigerian players to impress before the Swede finalises his World Cup squad.

Carlos Valdes opened the scoring for the Colombians in the 13th minute at a closed MK Dons ground.

Lukman Haruna scored a second-half equalizer as World Cup-bound Nigeria salvaged a draw.

This was a much improved Nigerian as Lagerback rang the changes showing after a lethargic performance against Saudi Arabia on Tuesday.

Only Yusuf Ayila survived the cut from the last game as the coach opted for Yakubu Aiyegbeni, Obinna Nsofor and Osaze Odemwingie in the attack.

He preferred deep-playing midfielders Dickson Etuhu and Sani Kaita alongside Ayila. But they were slow in moving forward and the Colombians took early control of the game.

Carlos Valdes reacted fastest to a poor Nigerian clearance in the box to power home a shot to put the South Americans ahead.

The second half was much better for the Super Eagles as Lagerback brought on Obafemi Martins for Yakubu Ayegbeni as well as Haruna for an underperforming Ayila to add bite to the attack.

These changes eventually paid off as the substitutes combined to level for Nigeria in the 70th minute.

The Nigeria manager was satisfied with the performance of his players.

"We are getting better with every game, I am rather satisfied with the performance of the boys," he told the BBC's African sports programme Fast Track.

Lagerback also explained the absence of Chelsea's John Mikel Obi, saying: "He only just finished a serious therapy session, so we decided not to take any risk, we didn't want to take a chance.

"Mikel has fully recovered and will play against North Korea next weekend."

Lagerback is expected to name his final squad on Monday afternoon and many Nigerians back home are anxiously awaiting a big name that could be among the seven dropped players after this performance here in England.



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see also
Obi joins Super Eagles squad
26 May 10 |  World Cup 2010
My First World Cup: Peter Odemwingie
25 May 10 |  World Cup 2010
Uche misses out for Super Eagles
31 May 10 |  World Cup 2010


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