Nigerian Super Eagles began the 2026 World Cup qualifiers on a shaky note when they were held to a disappointing 1-1 draw by minnows Lesotho.
Lesotho had taken the lead in the 56th minute against the run of play in the Group C qualifiers at the Godswill Akpabio Stadium in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State on Thursday.
But 11 minutes later, defender Semi Ajayi rose to the occasion to power a header past the Crocodiles’ post to restore parity for the host team.
The first half ended 0-0 with both teams, Nigeria in particular presented with chances upon chances to take the lead before the break.
Nigeria went into the game as favourite to win and go top of the group but found themselves trailing when the visitors stunned the Godswill Akpabio stadium with the opening goal with Motlomelo Mkwanazi rising highest to head home the opener from a corner kick in the 56th minute.
With Nigeria struggling to create any meaningful
chance, head coach Jose Peseiro turned to Moses
Simon and he wasted no time in making his mark
after coming on for the ineffective and wasteful
He forced a corner kick from which Semi Ajayi drew Nigeria level with a firm header from a Kelechi Iheanacho delivery from corner kick in the 67th minute.
The goal ended as what saved the Super Eagles from an embarrassing defeat to minnow Lesotho.