Onyekuru, Nwankwo score as Nigeria down Liberia

Henry Onyekuru is back in the Nigeria squad EPA/YURI KOCHETKOV

Henry Onyekuru and Simeon Nwankwo scored two first-half goals before Kpah Sherman responded with a late penalty as Nigeria edged Liberia 2-1 in an exhibition game to celebrate the 'retirement' of George Weah's number 14 jersey on Tuesday.

It took Onyekuru only 12 minutes to get on the scoresheet, and he did so in spectacular fashion, turning three defenders on the edge of the box to rip home an unstoppable volley.

Nwankwo headed in a second three minutes before half time, rising to meet Oghenkaro Etebo's corner.

With two minutes to play, Semi Ajayi was called up for a foul in the box, and Sherman expertly dispatched the resulting penalty, even thought substitute Daniel Akpeyi got a finger to the ball.

The match was ostensibly to retire Weah's No. 14 shirt, although it remains to be seen how Liberia intend to retire the journey considering the strict rules on shirt numbering in international tournaments.

In any case, none of that was of any concern as the nation turned out to celebrate their leader.

Up until kickoff, the Nigerians did not seem to be aware that Weah, now 51 and Liberia's current president, would be lining out against them, along with former teammate James Debbah, 48.

But with the rest of the team essentially the full Lone Stars lineup, there would be no room for complacency.

Gernot Rohr handed the captain's armband to the long-suffering John Ogu and threw him in as a central defender alongside Semi Ajayi.

Apart from going slightly easy on the tackles on Weah - all except for Ogu, who seemed to take it as a personal mission to not let a 51-year-old embarrass him - the Super Eagles sprinted off the blocks, making life difficult for the Lone Stars.

It was no surprise when Onyekuru opened the scoring inside the opening quarter hour.

By the time Nwankwo added his goal, it was looking like a long night for the hosts.

Liberia left Weah until the 79th minute, and he came close to creating a number of opportunities, going close from a first-half free kick, before playing Sherman in with a finely disguised reverse pass just before his substitution.

In the end, the game mattered little, and probably will count for even less.

However, it did at least give Rohr a chance to have a better look at some of his promising prospects, although what he gleaned is purely up for debate.