Watch Highlights : Italy vs Nigeria [Video]

Nigeria and Italy drew 2-2 in an international friendly played at Craven Cottage on Monday night.

Contrary to earlier reports, Cesare Prandelli started the game with a full strength team, which featured the likes of Mario Balotelli, Angelo Ogbonna and Giuseppe Rossi.

The latter gave the Azurri an early lead when he raced into a pass from Balotelli in the 7th minute, before chipping the ball over an advancing Austin Ejide, who manned the post in place of Vincent Enyeama.

Bright Dike however equalized for Nigeria in the 35th minute, after heading home a cross from Shola Ameobi.

Ameobi turned from provider to scorer four minutes later when he smashed in a left-wing cross from Heartland's fullback Benjamin Francis, to give Nigeria a half-time lead.

Emanuele Giaccherini equalized for Italy two minutes into the resumption of the second half, and Prandelli made some vital changes to his squad moments later as he brought on the likes of Andrea Pirlo, Marco Parolo and Diamanto.

The changes proved vital as the Italians dominated proceedings with Pirlo controlling the play and creating chances which Chirechi, Giancherini and Balotelli failed to utilize.

John Ogu however came close to restoring Nigeria's lead in the 74th minute but his rasping shot after a great run by Ahmed Musa was saved by Salvatore Sirigu.

Both sides continued to threaten with Italy getting the better chances which were wasted by Mario Balotelli, as Musa and Emmanuel Emenike also came close to scoring for Nigeria.

With neither side unable to add to their tally after regulation time, referee Martin Atkinson signalled for the end of the game.

ITALY: Sirigu - Maggio, Pasqual, Ogbonna, Ranocchia, Thiago Motta, Montolivo, Candreva, Giaccherini, Rossi, Balotelli

NIGERIA: Ejide - Kwambe, Oboabona, Egwuekwe, Francis, Onazi, Mikel, Oduamadi, Moses, Dike, Ameobi

Watch videos below:

International friendlies : Italy and Nigeria play out pulsating draw

Over 15,000 lucky fans at London’s craven Cottage witnessed a pulsating international friendly as Italy and Nigeria played out a pulsating 2-2 draw in the second meeting between the sides.

Both teams attacked from the off and chances came and went before Giuseppe Rossi put the Azzuri ahead with his first International goal for over two years.

Italy continued to dominate in terms of possession and chances but Nigeria struck back to lead with two quickfire goals from Bright Dike and Newcastle United’s Shola Ameobi before the end of the first half to stun their opponents.

It took Italy only two minutes to get back on level terms after the break as Emanuele Giaccherini converted Antonio Candreva’s through ball. And although both sides missed a number of chances to add to their tally, honours ended even on Cesare Prandelli’s 50th game in charge.

Read more HERE

International Friendly : Nigeria Vs Italy - Watch Live

Craven Cottage is proud to host the International Friendly between Italy and Nigeria on Monday 18th November, kick-off 8:45pm [Nigerian time]




Review: the Wamada Bamboo rashguard

I met Zack Adelson, the man behind the company, at the NY Open this spring and was delighted to have the chance to review one of their new bamboo rashguards.  Meerkatsu reviewed them here.  And Ayanthi wrote a nice piece about the company here.  The company website is down for maintenance at the time of this writing.  But you can buy one of these rashies on OTM's website.  It's $65 plus shipping.

You know me, I like to wear stuff for a good long while before I review it, but this lovely soft thing has passed all tests of endurance.  I've worn it in all sorts of weather, too-- ranging from +100 degreeF temps with +80% humidity all the way down to weather in the 40s.  (Yes, indoors, but we don't use AC or heat.)  I've worn this for nogi as well as under a gi, but most of my wear was under a gi.

I'm 5'2" 135 lbs, and I wear a small.  The sleeves and torso are long enough that this could fit someone longer/taller than I with ease.. at least an extra 2-3" in each.  These rashies are made of bamboo-viscose which is touted as a more ecologically-friendly textile, as well as absorbing more sweat.  This seemed kind of unique to me-- unlike most rashguards which are made with a nonabsorbent material like polyester, the bamboo did seem to retain more water and left smaller pools on the mat when training nogi.

Pros: the best thing about this rashie, to me, is the texture.  Soft, soft, soft!  Fuzzy and comfortable and stretchy.  When I first put it on in warm weather, it feels a bit too warm, but I did not feel overheated while rolling.  I also like the design-- which is available in ranked colors-- because it looks kind of like a rugby jersey.  Surprisingly, the stitching connecting the black parts to the white parts was not too tight or restrictive or scratchy.  The neckline is not too small (usually I am not a fan of crew necks) and the bottom hem stays tucked into gi pants if that's where you want it.  If you leave it out of your pants, it doesn't ride up like crazy, either.

(Excuse the scraggledy hair and post-training face of fatigue.)

The branding is appealing-- a small circular logo over your heart, and a larger name logo vertically along your ribcage on the right side, under your arm.  But it is printed straight onto the material, which usually ends up cracking and peeling over time.  Still, in the six months I've worn this, I haven't seen peeling and only a small amount of cracking.

The red contrast seaming is subtle but aesthetically pleasing.

Cons:  This fabric shows wear.  I don't think it's actually getting thinner or abraded in any fashion that would impair its utility, but it looks "pilly" and rubbed.  (The color has stayed a nice even black, so any fading you see in the photos is just an artifact of flash photography.)

Also, this sucker feels warm when you first put it on.  As I mentioned, while you're training you'll feel fine... but hanging out waiting for class to start will be toasty.  If it's temperate or even chilly weather, you'll enjoy it.  If it's hot, well, you will be slightly warmer on a subjective basis (but then again, you might not choose to wear a long sleeve rashie under a gi when it's really hot!)

In summary, this is a quality product and something a little different from all the rest of the rashies on the market.  I think it would make a nice holiday gift for the grappler in your life who already would seem to have all the rashies they could use.

Balotelli And Rossi To Lead Attack Against Nigeria

Giuseppe Rossi and Mario Balotelli are set to start up front for Italy in their friendly against Nigeria at Craven Cottage this evening.

Serie A top scorer Giuseppe Rossi has overcome tonsillitis and is expected to start for Italy against Nigeria alongside former Manchester City man Mario Balotelli.

The Azzurri managed a battling 1-1 draw with Germany in their last outing but will be strengthened in London by the return of Rossi.

Rossi has been in sensational form this season and leads the Serie A scoring chart with 11 goals to his name.

His strike partner Balotelli has had a much less enjoyable season for struggling AC Milan and has earned more headlines for off-the-field activities than his performances.

“Rossi is a versatile striker who can play as first or second striker,” Italy boss Cesare Prandelli told La Gazzetta dello Sport, explaining his probable line-up for Nigeria.

“It’s clear that if you use him as your point of reference up front then you have to co-ordinate the midfield around him, a little like Pep Guardiola has done over the last few years.”

Balotelli returns to England where he had a turbulent time and Prandelli stressed what he is looking for from the Milan marksman.

“He needs to be more reactive,” the ex-Fiorentina boss explained. “I’ll ask him to move more off the ball.”

Prandelli concluded with an assessment of Italy’s opponents who have just booked their place at next summer’s World Cup with victory over Ethiopia.

“Ten of their 11 players play in Europe,” he said. “African players are physically strong and have improved tactically.

“I expect this game to be the same difficulty at the Italy-Nigeria game of the 1994 World Cup when the Azzurri had to dig deep to win.”

Roberto Baggio was the hero of Italy’s 2-1 extra-time win over Nigeria in the USA in 1994. Italy were headed out of the competition until his late equaliser and then he converted a penalty in the 102nd minute to seal progress to the quarter-finals.