Match - Sat 8 September, 20:00,
Liberia peg back Eagles
Igiebor drew Eagles level
The Lone Star played out of their skins and deserved something from this clash against West African ‘Big Brother’ Nigeria.
The home team, cheered on by a full house at the 30,000-capacity Samuel Kanyon Doe Stadium, took the lead after just five minutes through Omega Roberts after Ike Uche had lost a big chance at the other end of the pitch.
However, sustained Nigeria pressure paid off on 22 minutes when Nosa Igiebor found the back of the net after a swift counter attack by Chelsea new signing Victor Moses.
And four minutes later, the Eagles went in front from the penalty spot after Moses was hacked down inside the box on his way to goal.
Ike Uche blasted the penalty past outstanding goalkeeper Nathaniel Shermna.
The teams thus retired into the dressing room at half time with Nigeria leading 2-1.
But the hosts did not relent in their quest to get a result after the interval as they continued to mount pressure on their more illustrious opponents.
They would be rewarded on 66 minutes, when their top star Sekou Oliseh shot past onrushing goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama.
And to the credit of the home team, they continued to fight for the winning goal as they took control of the midfield while right back Godfrey Oboabona really struggled and skipper Joseph Yobo was not at his commanding best.
Warri Wolves centre back Azubuike Egwuewke had to on several occasions come to the rescue of Nigeria after the Eagles defence was beaten.
In attack, Spartak Moscow striker Emmanuel Emenike shone but had he and Ike Uche been more clinical in front of goal they would have long put this game beyond Liberia.
Rather, the Lone Star gained in confidence as the game stood at 2-2 and in the dying moments really stretched their guests, who were most certainly the happier of the two teams after this draw.
The return leg match will be played on October 12 in Calabar with the overall winners advancing to the Nations Cup in South Africa next year.
Liberia will host Ghana to a friendly on Tuesday, while a proposed rematch between Nigeria and Egypt has been called off.